Understanding Insurance Claims

Why Nurses Need Their Own Malpractice Insurance

As a nurse, it is critical that you understand the importance of medical malpractice insurance to protect you in the event of any potential problems. Although most nurses dismiss the importance of medical malpractice insurance because their employers carry coverage, it is more important than you think to have malpractice insurance of your own. Here are a few things you should know.

Your Employer's Coverage Protects Your Employer

The first thing you need to understand is that any medical malpractice insurance coverage that your employer is extending to you is designed to protect your employer more than it is designed to protect you.

That insurance coverage is purchased by your employer, so they are technically the insured. This means the insurance company will act in your employer's best interest, not yours. If you are named in a medical malpractice suit, the settlement handled by your employer's insurance company will be done in their best interest.

You Are At Risk Of Malpractice Claims

As a nurse, you are technically the front line of patient care. You are the most frequent face that patients see, so you are the one that they often equate to the responsibility of their care. Even if you are doing nothing more than following the care orders of the doctor, you are the one that is viewed as the caregiver by patients, which means you will likely be named if a mistake is made that results in injury.

Even if you can prove that you were carrying out orders from the doctor, any complications or medication conflicts that you should have recognized can be used against you in a medical malpractice suit.

Your Own Policy Protects You

Although it's good to have some malpractice coverage from your employer, it's important that you have a policy of your own as well. When you buy private malpractice insurance, you become the insured, and the insurance company is working in your best interest.

You can choose from two primary types of coverage. A claims-based policy covers any claims made while the policy is in force. It doesn't matter what the claim is, but it does have to be filed while the policy is in effect.

An occurrence-based policy, on the other hand, applies to any covered incident no matter when the claim is filed. As long as the incident itself happens while the policy is in force, the claim can be filed any time, even after you've canceled the policy.

You can even add riders to the occurrence-based policy to cover incidents that happened before the policy was put in force, or things that happen within a predetermined time after the policy is canceled.

For more information on medical malpractice insurance, consult a resource in your area.