Medical Professional Liability Keeps Docs Working

If you are a doctor or another type of state licensed medical professional who treats patients, medical professional liability helps pay the costs of being sued and especially any financial judgments up to liability limits if accused of delivering improper care that causes a patient to suffer injury or die. Medical malpractice lawsuits abound in the United States, and there is a great deal of fraud perpetrated every day that ensnares even honest medical professionals. And the right insurance plan can help pay the costs of being sued and worse, losing in court.

There are many ways someone can win a large judgment against a medical professional. A plaintiff could win compensation for costs arising from poor medical treatment that leaves them injured or crippled and unable to work or earn a living. And damages might include punitive costs as determined by a judge or panel, which can cost a great deal more than simple compensatory costs. But punitive damages typical are awarded only if there was gross negligence or wanton disregard for accepted medical standards of practice.

Life care expenses also could be ruled against a medical professional, which can include costs going into the future for lost wages and care many years into the future. Economic damages might include financial losses, medical costs and the cost of providing care for many more years, like when someone is injured and confined to a nursing home. Medical professional liability can cover a great deal of costs, such as when non economic damages are levied for the injury based on physical and psychological harm, loss of sight in one or both eyes, loss of an appendage or organ, reduced enjoyment of life due to pain and handicaps, high levels of pain and emotional distress.

Fortunately for doctors and other medical professionals, a malpractice lawsuit can only be filed for a fixed time as set by common law in each state. In New York, for example, there is a 2.5 year window during which a medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed. But even with a somewhat short timeframe during which to get sued after administering medical treatment, some 75 per cent of doctors in low-risk specialties and 100 per cent of doctors in high risk specialties were sued for malpractice, according to a 2011 study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine. About 73 per cent of malpractice claims involving medical error has proven to be

Medical professional liability insurance plans help keep doctors and other medical professionals working instead of worrying about the costs of defending a lawsuit for care that might or might not have been faulty. When care truly was faulty, state officials can determine if a professional medical license should be revoked. If not faulty, a modest settlement still might be offered to stave off the high costs of battling allegations in courtrooms across the nation. Either way, a good medical malpractice insurance plan can keep costs down while enabling others to ensure they were given the best treatment possible. By Mike Heuer