Doctors and medical professionals around the world need to protect themselves from lawsuits in case they are ever involved in a lawsuit for medical malpractice. Insurance offsets some of the loss that doctors could experience if they were sued because of an injury to a patient or if a patient under their care died due to the doctor’s neglect. Countries around the world have different standards for patient care, and if a doctor deviates from the standard, there is cause for a lawsuit for damages to the patient or their family. Medical malpractice is a serious accusation, and if the final judgment is against the physician, he or she could lose almost everything.
Mistakes have no place in medicine, so a doctor could potentially be sued for making any mistake. Medical errors are the main reason for settled malpractice claims. Out-of-court settlements are very common because it is much cheaper for insurance companies to settle with a person for several hundred thousand dollars than to spend three or four times that amount for litigation.
Doctors are paying huge premiums for medical malpractice insurance, and the cost is usually passed on to their patients by charging more for office visits, surgery, and other procedures. In the U.S., insurance is regulated by the 50 states, so the doctor must buy his coverage in the state in which he practices. Annual insurance rates depend on the doctor’s specialty. A surgeon can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000 each year in premiums for insurance. Some doctors pay up to $500,000 each year just for insurance coverage. Different specialty areas within medicine have an effect on the cost of the insurance that the doctor pays.
Today’s medical practices depend on modern technology, and there is a business risk that doctors must also cover in their insurance policies. These policies protect them in the event that they are sued over something related to technology or their business practices. Some policies cover doctors in the areas of the managed care environment, their employment practices, new structures within their organization, and the implementation of electronic medical records.so there is also coverage available for allegations related to unauthorized access to patient information and to computer infections. Medical malpractice insurance can also have coverage related to employee matters, such as accusations of harassment, discrimination, wage disputes, and wrongful termination.
Doctors who practice in the U.S. are usually not required to carry medical malpractice insurance. Florida is one state that requires doctors to carry $100,000 in insurance to be able to practice medicine in this state, and they must have $250,000 to use hospital facilities. Patients are cautioned not to allow any physician who does not carry insurance to care for them. If there is an incident involving malpractice, they have no chance of recouping any money to cover their medical costs and the loss of income that they have faced. Apparently, some doctors post signs telling their patients that they do not carry insurance, but this is rare. Most physicians carry at least a million dollars of coverage, and most have many more millions of dollars in insurance coverage.
Both the doctor and the doctor’s patients benefit from the physician carrying malpractice insurance. The doctor is covered if he makes any mistake or omission in the care that he gives a patient, so he doesn’t need to worry about losing his house, cars, and other personal property. Patients, on the other hand, benefit as well. They know that their doctor will be doing everything that he or she can possibly do to meet or exceed the standard of care for them to avoid any lawsuits. If the doctor is sued, the insurance premiums will rise substantially, making it almost impossible to pay them and practice medicine.