5 Steps You Should Take To Have Malpractice Insurance

One of the necessities of practicing in the medical field is having malpractice insurance. But how does one get malpractice insurance? We can help by guiding you through the necessary steps to acquire malpractice insurance.

Step #1: Find an Agent

The first step you should take to have malpractice insurance is finding an experienced professional who can help guide you through the process. Insurance on its own is often complicated and confusing, especially for those not familiar with the ins and outs of malpractice insurance.

An independent agent will know the coverage you need and where to look for the best options. Even your profession can affect your coverage, whether it’s chiropractic malpractice insurance or personal liability coverage.

Step #2: Review Coverage Options & Quotes

Once you’ve explained what you’re looking for and your budget to your agent, they’ll put together some quotes and options. These first quotes are initial options, and you can view them as a starting point to work from to find the perfect coverage.

This step is where you can narrow down your options and fine-tune your preferences regarding premiums, policy limits, or occurrence vs. claims-made coverage. You may find that you won’t get exactly what you’re looking for, but trust that your agent can find you the best deal.

Step #3: Submit an Application

After review, it’s time to select an insurance carrier and move forward by applying. Your agent will guide you through the application process and help you gather any information you need.

The insurance company should reply to your application with a decision to accept or reject relatively quickly, typically in under a week.

Step #4: Consider Offers & Bind Coverage

When the carrier accepts your offer, they will respond with some quotes and terms for your policy to review and consider. You should already know what to expect, and there shouldn’t be any surprises at this step.

This step is also where you can bind your coverage. Binding means that while the contract may not be official yet, you’ve bound the insurance carrier to you, and they will cover you from that date and time forward.

Step #5: Pay Premium and Confirm Policy

You’ve applied and agreed to the terms—all that’s left is to make it official with your first premium payment to bind coverage. Most insurance providers offer convenient payment plans.

Congratulations, now you’re protected with malpractice insurance! If you have further questions about malpractice insurance, consult with the experts at Baxter & Associates.

5 Common Causes of Malpractice Lawsuits for Doctors

Physicians are some of the most well-educated and trained professionals, but they’re still human and make mistakes. Even in healthcare, errors happen that have consequences, which is why medical practice liability insurance is critical for individuals and facilities.

We’ll go over some of the most common causes of malpractice lawsuits for doctors, ranging from simple mishaps to more complex mistakes.

Misdiagnosis and Delay in Diagnosis

The number one cause of malpractice lawsuits for doctors is diagnosis. Although physicians are highly trained, educated, and skilled, they sometimes get it wrong or don’t diagnose an illness quickly enough to prevent suffering or death.

Misdiagnosis is when a physician gets the diagnosis wrong—often, this occurs from not knowing the patient’s medical and family history well enough. A delayed diagnosis is when a doctor is correct in their diagnosis, but it’s too late, typically because of a delay in ordering a test or recommending a specialist.

Failure To Treat

Along with misdiagnosing a patient, sometimes a physician fails to see the injury or illness in a patient and fails to treat them, resulting in injury or death. Sometimes illness symptoms are so minor at first that they can seem like typical aches and pains any average person would have.

One example is a patient experiencing minor chest pains—it’s easy for a doctor to assume it’s simply heartburn, as most signs point toward that diagnosis. But sometimes it can be a prelude to a more severe illness; and before a physician can administer treatment, it’s too late.

Childbirth Injuries

Childbirth is a wondrous journey for many that goes off without a hitch, but there’s still the potential for pregnancy, labor, and delivery problems. Such problems can arise in the mother or the fetus and appear minor on the surface but belie deeper issues.

Malpractice lawsuits from childbirth injuries can include failure to perform prenatal tests, failure to execute a c-section, or the improper use of birthing tools like forceps.

Medication Errors

Medication is an essential aspect of medical treatment, and with physicians prescribing so many medications to so many patients every day, it’s logical that someone can make a mistake occasionally. Medication errors is an umbrella term that can include many different types of mistakes, including:

  • Misdiagnosis and prescription of wrong medication
  • Incorrect dosage (overprescribing)
  • Allergic reaction to a medication
  • The patient is administered the wrong dosage/medication

Surgical Errors

Like administering medication, surgeries are something that happens every day, and even the most skilled surgeons have slip-ups. Some examples of surgical errors that have resulted in lawsuits are surprisingly simple, like:

  • Leaving surgical tools inside the patient
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient
  • Performing surgery on the wrong body part

It just goes to show that it’s always wise to double-check before starting your work!

The Benefits of Claims-Made Insurance Policies

Claims-made coverage is one of the most common insurance policies for professionals. If you’d like to learn more about this type of coverage, we’ve got you covered with the key things you need to know and the benefits of claims-made insurance policies.

What Is a Claims-Made Insurance Policy?

What do people need to know about a claims-made insurance policy? Claims-made coverage is a form of professional liability insurance from a malpractice insurance agency. Many professions require professional liability insurance, but it’s especially common for medical professionals.

Essentially, a claims-made policy covers the insured only when the coverage is active. So, if you have a claims-made policy for three years, you’re protected for as long as that policy is in effect—if it expires, you’ll need to get a new policy to stay covered.

How Is Claims-Made Different From Occurrence-Based Coverage?

Under professional liability coverage, applicants can choose between claims-made or occurrence-based coverage, but what’s the difference? The significant difference is that claims-made policies are more restricted, while occurrence-based policies will always cover the insured even after the policy lapses.

For instance, if you had an occurrence-based policy for two years, you would always be insured for those two years even if the policy expires. A claim could be filed ten years later, but if it falls within that period where you had occurrence-based coverage, you’ll still be covered.

A claims-made policy only covers you if the procedure is still active. If you let your policy expire, you won’t be covered for the time you were insured—you’ll need additional or retroactive coverage.

What Are the Benefits of a Claims-Made Insurance Policy?

Claims-made policies are especially prevalent in the healthcare industry. Why do medical professionals choose claims-made insurance—what are the benefits?

More Affordable

The most straightforward answer is typically the correct one, and in this case, most choose claims-made policies because they’re more affordable. A claims-made policy may not offer the continued coverage of an occurrence-based policy, but it makes up for it by providing lower initial premiums.

The lower premiums benefit individuals and facilities purchasing coverage for their staff in a group policy. The initial lower premiums free up cash flow for businesses and individuals.

Add Extended Coverage

There are ways to add extended coverage to a claims-based policy through retroactive and tail coverage. Retroactive coverage means that your policy also covers claims made before the coverage went into effect, so there are no gaps in coverage.

Tail coverage goes the other way, covering you after your policy is expired. Tail coverage is often utilized as a stopgap between an old insurance carrier and a new one to ensure the individual is always protected.

Those are the basics and benefits of claims-made insurance policies, but there is much more to know if you’re interested in purchasing coverage. If you’d like to learn more, consult the experts at Baxter & Associates, who can help you get the insurance policy that best fits your needs.