Does Malpractice Insurance Cover Criminal Charges?

Much is misunderstood about malpractice insurance, like what a liability insurance policy covers. Does malpractice insurance cover criminal charges? We answer that question and more regarding malpractice insurance below.

No, Criminal Charges Are Not Covered by Malpractice Insurance

Healthcare professionals must understand the difference between criminal charges and a malpractice lawsuit. Criminal charges are remedied in criminal court, while malpractice lawsuits occur in civil court, where the penalties are strictly financial and don’t include the threat of imprisonment.

If a healthcare provider is found to be intentionally negligent or reckless and harms a patient, they could be indicted for criminal charges, which malpractice insurance would not cover. Malpractice insurance is only for civil proceedings. Exceptions to that coverage include sexual misconduct.

Malpractice Coverage & HIPAA Violations

HIPAA violations are other common concerns regarding malpractice coverage. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) deals with patient privacy and governs healthcare professionals, healthcare facilities, and insurance companies.

If a healthcare professional fails to maintain a patient’s privacy and is accused of a HIPAA violation, they could be hit with a malpractice lawsuit. Whether their insurance covers the lawsuit depends on their coverage. While many policies will include coverage for a HIPAA violation, it might not be standard coverage like the other costs and may require additional coverage.

What Malpractice Insurance Does Cover

We’ve discussed much of what malpractice insurance doesn’t cover, so you’re probably wondering what it covers for those facing a malpractice lawsuit. Coverage varies from one insurance provider and policy to another, but the standard framework of malpractice insurance covers the following costs:

  • Attorney fees
  • Court costs
  • Arbitration costs
  • Compensatory damages
  • Settlements

Even if a malpractice insurance policy covers these costs, limits exist regarding how much a policy will pay to cover these fees per claim or policy period. If you have malpractice insurance or are searching for a policy, read the details carefully to understand the plan’s coverage.


Medical professionals should know many things about malpractice insurance, from what it covers to policy limits and more. At Baxter & Associates, we make the search for insurance easier for medical professionals by connecting them with policies suited for them, like nurse practitioner liability insurance. Contact our helpful staff today if you need malpractice insurance or want to learn more.