What Happens To Doctors After a Malpractice Claim

As a medical professional, you’ve waited years to begin your career. Decades of school and specialized learning culminates in your first residency or job. From there, you see patients and help people to the best of your knowledge and abilities. Yet, there comes a time for many doctors when a mistake occurs that harms a patient. On top of the guilt, many patients file a claim against you asserting negligence or malpractice. These claims take time to process and may even end up in court. Learn what happens to doctors after a malpractice claim.

The Claim

The malpractice claim journey is a long and arduous road for both the physician and the patient. And it all begins with the claim.

The Patient Claims Malpractice

Though some patients claim malpractice for minor issues, the fact of the matter is that a legally binding claim is on your desk. The patient will likely have a lawyer with whom they drafted and filed this claim. The claim will describe the incident and subsequent harm patients experienced. Much thought and planning goes into the wording and presentation of the facts.

Notices and Summons

Depending on the state wherein you practice, legal processes differ. However, you will receive either a notice of intent to sue or a court summons. Either of these documents serve as the blossoming of the claim into legal formality. So, you could potentially open a letter in the mail one day and see a court summons without prior knowledge of the harmed patient. Many doctors do not even know the notice is coming until it’s already there. This surprise can leave many medical professionals reeling, confused about the patient and incident in question. The important thing to remember is that your insurance is on your side and will do everything they can to handle the claim.

The Negotiations

Many medical malpractice claims and lawsuits end with a settlement. This settlement is a form of payment equivalent to the damages suffered by the patient. Depending on the severity of the harm, these payouts can skyrocket. That is why both parties and their lawyers work together to negotiate a mutually agreed-upon resolution.

Contacting Your Insurance

After receiving your summons, the first thing you should do is notify your malpractice insurance carrier. Your insurance agency exists for this very purpose; it is their job to support you in the event of a career-threatening emergency such as this. Depending on the extent of your coverage and type of policy, your insurer will cover a predetermined amount for everything from lawyer fees to settlements. Insurance agents specialize in handling this process, so you should defer to their recommendations throughout the process, especially if this is your first malpractice claim.

Communicating with Lawyers

Your insurance carrier will either assign or help you find an attorney. This person will be your point of contact for everything related to the case. They will help you organize your information and issue a prompt response to the summons. The next steps will vary depending on the suit, but both sides will perform discovery and depositions to gather information about the opposing sides.

All legal communication will happen through lawyers who can help coach you on the proper etiquette and language when discussing matters of the case, especially with the plaintiff. Before entering a courtroom, you will probably go through the process of arbitration wherein both sides discuss and negotiate a settlement commensurate to the verified incident. This method settles legal matters outside the courtroom, saving everyone precious time and money. If the case goes to the courtroom, you will have a whole other issue on your hands. Regardless of the path your case follows, it all will end eventually.

The Aftermath

The legal battle is over; adjudicating bodies set the settlement or verdict in stone. Now comes the time for a resolution to this patient claim and malpractice incident. Here is what happens in the days, weeks, and months following a malpractice claim.

Settlements and Payments

The first order of business is settling any outstanding financial obligations. Depending on how the claim worked its way through the legal system, you could have a significant payment to make or none at all. If you have a settlement, you must coordinate with your insurance company to determine how much they will cover.

Career Impacts

One of the biggest questions many medical professionals have after a lawsuit is whether they can keep their licensure and still practice. The short answer is no, but it depends on the circumstances of your case. Even when courts find doctors guilty of malpractice, they don’t revoke their license to practice. If you lose your ability to practice, a court will make these terms clear, and other deliberations will happen; the authorities won’t take your license without your explicit knowledge.

Some may feel surprised by this reality, but it all boils down to the claim’s purpose. Harmed patients may desire that you don’t practice again because of what you allegedly did to them. However, the central matter in a malpractice or negligence lawsuit isn’t your medical career but rather the injured person’s compensation. Malpractice claims seek to make the harmed person whole. So, don’t worry about your practice unless the proper agencies notify you of this possibility.

Though your ability to practice is not as threatened as you once believed, it doesn’t mean your career is entirely safe. If you end up paying a large amount of the settlement, you could feel the financial ramifications of a malpractice suit for years to come. Consider finding the best malpractice insurance for your specialization and even save up for the eventuality of a lawsuit. With your financial resources in check, you have a chance to weather a malpractice storm.

Knowing what happens to doctors after a malpractice claim can deliver a sense of clarity and calm during an often-stressful process. If you’re a medical worker in need of professional liability malpractice insurance, reach out to our team at Baxter & Associates to find coverage that fits your career.

What Happens To Doctors After a Malpractice Claim

Why Every Dentist Needs Professional Liability Insurance

As a dentist, you work to better the oral health of all people, especially those who walk through your doors. However, dentists are not exempt from the risks associated with medical work. You could inadvertently injure or harm a patient during a procedure. Though you trust the quality of your work—and you should—the frustrating reality is that everyone will make a mistake at some point. Here is why every dentist needs professional liability insurance.

What Is Professional Liability Insurance?

Professional liability insurance is a kind of insurance coverage related to the risks involved in a person’s line of work. Medical professionals are at a much higher risk of legal claims against them than individuals in other careers. Though many dentists don’t perform the same kinds of invasive procedures as other medical professionals, they still put their patients at risk with their tools and methods. Professional liability insurance covers dentists from alleged malpractice, negligence, and other injury-causing errors.

Who Do Dentists Need It?

Like all other medical professionals, dentists need a safeguarded career from the claims of their clients. Dental procedures involve strong and sharp tools moving in vulnerable places—not to mention that the mouth is near other critical organs such as the brain and eyes. Debilitating complications rarely occur from dental work, but the fact is that it’s a reality from which you should protect yourself.

Where Can Dentists Find It?

Research is the first step in finding insurance as a dentist. Reach out to friends and trusted colleagues for recommendations and details regarding their insurance. Professional liability policies vary in their size and scope, but our medical malpractice insurance for dentists is the perfect option for any practicing dentist in the US.

Once you know why every dentist needs professional liability insurance, you can take the proper steps to protect your career. The last thing you need is to deal with a legally and financially ruinous problem as you advance your career. Contact our team at Baxter & Associates to get the coverage you need and the peace of mind you deserve.

Types of Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies

Whether doctors commit medical malpractice or not, patients file claims against their physicians due to damages sustained during treatment. Because of the persistent threat of a malpractice or negligence claim, medical malpractice insurance companies exist to protect physicians from career-damaging financial ruin. This form of professional liability insurance supports medical professionals when they need it most. If you are new to the insurance field, here are the types of medical malpractice insurance companies you should know.

What Are Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies?

There are many kinds of insurance companies, but what exactly is a medical malpractice insurance company? Well, this sort of insurance company provides their insured medical professionals with top-notch malpractice insurance. Professionals use this insurance when claims of medical malpractice or negligence land on their doorstep. With their insurer’s help, they can weather the financial storm that these claims often become.

Malpractice claims and lawsuits are expensive. From legal fees to settlements to damages, insurance companies aid their clients in times of financial distress. Though the specific policies limit the extent of these financial obligations, the essence of insurance companies lies in their ability to protect their policyholders’ financial assets. Insureds pay the insurance company regular fees every month to keep their policy. However, an insurance company’s value lies in its ability to provide the funds they commit to their clients in times of need.

Medical malpractice insurance companies typically offer two kinds of insurance for individual professionals: claims-made and occurrence policies. These policies differ in handling the timing of claims and incidents, but they both offer measured risk reduction for medical professionals. Medical malpractice insurance companies primarily protect people like doctors, nurse practitioners, and certified registered nurse anesthetists with policies like our malpractice insurance for healthcare professionals at Baxter & Associates.

The Main Types of Malpractice Insurance Companies

Now that you have a handle on the scale of medical malpractice insurance companies, it’s time to look at their structure. When learning about insurers, it is essential to know about their organization, ownership, legal responsibilities, and financial stability. The following are the key types of malpractice insurance companies that you must know.

Mutual Insurance Companies

Mutual insurance companies vary from commercial insurance companies in their ownership. The policyholders in a mutual medical malpractice insurance company are also the owners of the company. This somewhat democratic form of insurance allows policyholders to determine who manages their funds and policies. Due to its structural differences, mutual insurance companies appeal to those who can afford a place in the group. When researching medical malpractice insurance companies, you should determine who owns the company and how the management operates.

The profits from their financial portfolio directly impact policyholders in the form of dividends or premium reductions. In the field of medicine, a mutual insurance company may look like a group of similarly specialized doctors sharing their funds and creating better coverage and cost solutions for their shared risks.

Captive Insurance Companies

A captive insurance company is a form of self-insurance that addresses the risks of its owners. These owners are usually a group of parent or related companies that need a specific form of insurance. Captive insurance companies exist because insurance policies don’t always cover the exact risks many businesses encounter. When these companies form a captive insurance entity, they have the leeway to tailor policies to their own needs and lower their insurance costs. The process involves significant personnel, tax, and overheard considerations, but the benefits far outweigh the cost. Depending on the nature of a medical facility, they may decide to band together with others in their respective field to cover gaps in their insurance.

Trust Insurance Companies

As the name implies, trust insurance companies operate with the financial backing of a trust. Like an unincorporated trust, a trust insurance company must have trustees who manage the use of funds on behalf of the beneficiaries. Physician-owned insurance companies can take the form of a trust when they want particular financial securities. These medical malpractice trust insurance companies often have a select group of doctors and insurance agents as their trustees. With their specialized knowledge and leadership, trust insurance policies have better direction than if non-physicians ran it.

Risk Retention Insurance Companies

Risk retention groups offer forms of liability insurance to both commercial and government entities. Like captive insurance companies, risk retention groups serve a group of like-minded businesses who pool their funds to manage their similar risks. Risk retention groups are different from these other insurance companies in that state and federal law regulate them. This legal binding changes how they operate, how the government monitors them, and where they can do business. Medical malpractice insurance is one of the most popular policy types that these groups provide.

These are the types of medical malpractice insurance companies out there, so find the right coverage today. If you need anything, from dentist to surgeon to chiropractor malpractice insurance, reach out to our team at Baxter & Associates today.

Types of Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies

Medical Malpractice Terms That All Doctors Should Know

If you studied medicine, you likely spent very little time diving into the nitty-gritty of law. But medical malpractice claims and legalese can creep into your professional life when you least expect it. Here are a few of the medical malpractice terms that all doctors should know.

Informed Consent

Informed consent refers to the explicit acknowledgment and approval of medical treatments by the patient. This consent is critical for medical professionals to begin treatments and perform operations. Informed consent requires that a patient be fully aware of all risks from their treatment. You must obtain a patient signature and have it on record in case a claim arises later. If you have a physician or physician assistant medical malpractice insurance policy, you will need these documents for financial coverage.

Standard of Care

Standard of care refers to the quality of care expected from a credentialed professional. As a doctor, you should perform your duties to the highest degree possible, treating patients with the utmost respect, timeliness, and attention. Without these key elements, a patient could claim negligence or malpractice. Always give each patient the same high quality of care, and you will reduce the probability of negligence claims.

Malpractice Insurance

Medical malpractice refers to improper actions by a medical professional. Medical malpractice insurance comprises the policies that cover such professionals from their actions, or lack thereof. Malpractice insurance comes in all forms depending on your insurer, but you should know the basic differences between claims-made, occurrence, nose, and tail policies. Each policy covers certain incidents and claims that the others do not. If you don’t have malpractice insurance to protect you, reach out to our team at Baxter & Associates today for immediate assistance.

Equip yourself with the medical malpractice terms that all doctors should know. If you treat every patient and procedure with high regard, you should seldom have to worry about claims of negligence or malpractice.

How Nurse Practitioners Can Practice On Their Own

Students attend medical school to help people and practice the intricate art of medicine. Nurse practitioners train for years and have their practice regulated by the state. From restricted to reduced to full practice, NPs have an array of work options depending on where they work. Here are how nurse practitioners can practice on their own.

Obtain the Right Certifications

The first step in practicing as an NP is proving your qualifications. By now you’ve finished the right programs and joined the correct associations, but you must verify all this before practicing with patients. Collect all your certificates, degrees, and licensures and present them to the state where you want to work. Practicing on your own requires direct state approval, so do your due diligence to establish your scope of practice.

Find the Best Location

Apart from the standard queries all business startups must consider, nurse practitioners beginning their own practice or looking to join an established practice must find the right location. Since NP regulations vary from state to state, research where your degree has the most value and allows you the most freedom. Though nurse practitioners don’t hold a classical MD or DO, they are highly trained medical professionals capable of independent practice. So, look for a state where you can work independently and find a city or town that interests you.

Protect Your Career

When you step out on your own, you must protect your career. One of the primary ways you can do this is to find a medical malpractice insurance policy. These policies will drastically change your ability to recover in the face of patient claims, financially and legally. In fact, our nurse practitioner liability insurance at Baxter & Associates is one of the most comprehensive options out there.

Understanding how nurse practitioners can practice on their own equips newly graduated NPs to find their way into the workforce. If you need medical malpractice insurance for your budding career, reach out to our team at Baxter & Associates to find the right solution for you.