- Product & Services / Management Liability Insurance / Malpractice Insurance
Malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance purchased by healthcare professionals. This insurance coverage protects healthcare providers against patients who file suits against them under the complaint that they were harmed by the professional's negligence or intentionally harmful treatment decisions. Malpractice insurance also covers the death of a patient.
Most medical doctors will need malpractice insurance sometime during their professional career, and for good reason. The leading causes of death in the U.S. list medical negligence as the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer.
Medical negligence can happen during diagnosis, during treatment, or as part of the advice given for treatment after an illness. Its is estimated that approximately 250,000 deaths in the U.S. arise from medical errors every year.
Some studies show that more than 17,000 malpractice lawsuits are brought to healthcare professionals every year in the United States. An average U.S. doctor can expect to have a malpractice lawsuit brought against them once every seven years. This underlines the importance of having malpractice insurance for a healthcare professional.
States require that medical professionals have current malpractice coverage to work in hospitals and other medical facilities. Medical malpractice insurance premiums are usually based on the physician's specialty and geographic location, not on claims experience. This means that even if a physician has never been sued, they can end up paying extremely high premiums. The premiums can be high because of such factors as the amount of coverage needed, claims severity, claims frequency, location of practice, and laws in the area.
There are many options for procuring malpractice insurance. In the most basic form, an insurance policy can be purchased for an individual or group by a private insurer.
Like all management and professional liability plocies can be purchased in a claims-made policy or an occurrence policy. A claims-made policy only covers claims if the policy was in effect when the treatment occurred and when the lawsuit was made. An occurrence policy covers any claim that was made on a treatment that occurred while the policy was in effect, even if the policy has since expired.
The types of costs covered under a malpractice policy are wide. They include all legal fees, such as lawyer fees, settlement and arbitration costs, medical damages, and punitive damages.