How does malpractice insurance help a nurse? Almost every professional working within the medical field is vulnerable to lawsuits as a result of malpractice, either perceived or actual. Malpractice insurance, also referred to as professional liability insurance, protects nurses and helps pay the costs associated with these lawsuits.
Nurses and Malpractice
It is important to keep in mind that malpractice lawsuits can be filed even if there is no actual wrongdoing on the part of the medical staff serving the patient. Unfounded malpractice lawsuits are eventually dismissed, but the process can be time consuming and financially draining. Nurses may find themselves paying legal costs for advice and representation and may have to take time off from work in order to deal with the lawsuit.
Of course, no medical professional is perfect and everyone makes occasional mistakes. Malpractice insurance can help pay the costs associated with a lawsuit when the nurse is actually at fault. Considering how costly these types of lawsuits can be, this coverage can make the difference between inconvenience and sheer financial disaster.
Coverage Provided by an Employer
It is common for hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities to carry malpractice insurance for all the employees, including doctors, nurses, and anyone else who comes into direct contact with patients. The coverage may actually be enough to cover you adequately and make the purchasing of extra malpractice insurance an unnecessary expense.
How does malpractice insurance help a nurse when the insurance is provided by an employer? The coverage is similar to a policy purchased individually, and usually provides coverage up to a certain monetary amount. Employer-provided coverage may come with certain stipulations, so you may be assigned an attorney by your employer or you may have to take on a different professional role within the company while the lawsuit is pending.
On the other hand, you should never make the assumption that the malpractice insurance provided by your employer is sufficient. Find out how much coverage is provided and find out if there are instances when the coverage will no protect you. Also keep in mind that this coverage may not extend to other nursing roles you have outside of your employer. For example, if you work part-time with another medical facility, or if you volunteer your time in a nursing capacity for a charity, you may be vulnerable to a malpractice lawsuit that your employer will not get involved with.
How Does Malpractice Insurance Help a Nurse Before Lawsuits
For some nurses, simply having adequate malpractice insurance is enough to ensure peace of mind and to give them confidence that their financial well-being will not be jeopardized by a single lawsuit. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be incredibly expensive, and not only for doctors.
Carrying your own malpractice insurance coverage may also make nurses more attractive as job candidates. For example, a physician opening a small private practice may be more inclined to hire a nurse who already has liability coverage than a nurse expecting the doctor to fully supply this coverage.
The good news is that this type of coverage is not too expensive, especially for nurses who have never been found guilty of malpractice. Most nurses will find that the minimal cost of this coverage is completely worth the peace of mind it brings. To find coverage, check with your nursing association to find out what malpractice insurance company they endorse. It may also be worth it to do some comparison shopping online, but make sure the company you choose is reliable.