In the increasingly technical field of medicine, nurses still occupy the role of primary caregivers to hospitalized patients. They coordinate care, watch for complications following medical tests and surgical procedures, dispense medication, and generally help make sure that a patient's continuously evolving needs are met.
Since nurses are the most familiar faces that patients and their families see when they're in the hospital, is it any wonder that nurses may end up the target of a medical malpractice suit when something goes wrong? It's human nature to blame the person who was most visible in any situation for mistakes that might have been made or a poor outcome.
Many nurses either lack malpractice coverage altogether or only have the insurance provided by their employers, which may be inadequate to fully protect them. If you're a hospital nurse, here's what you should consider when it comes to medical malpractice insurance.
Your Employer's Policy Protects the Employer First
Your employer may or may not provide you with malpractice insurance. Even if your employer does provide the insurance, however, it could limit your ability to fully defend yourself in a bad situation, and that could be damaging to your reputation and career. Many employer-provided policies require nurses who are defendants in a malpractice lawsuit to use the "hospital attorney." That attorney's first priority will be the hospital's reputation, not yours.
An Employer's Policy Subjects You To Shared Liability Limits
When you're on your employer's policy, you are subject to the liability limits of that employer's policy, which are shared among all the defendants in any given medical malpractice case. That may be nowhere near enough to cover your personal expenses if you lose the case. You could find yourself with hefty out-of-pocket payments due in a settlement and your legal fees may not all be entirely covered.
You Could Suddenly Lose Your Employer's Liability Coverage
You already know that an employer-provided malpractice insurance policy won't last continue to cover you past the date of your employment. However, you may not realize that your employer has the power to terminate the policy you have at any point if they feel that you are at fault for the incident that led to the malpractice claim. You run the risk of being scapegoated with not fallback of your own when you don't have your own policy.
You worked just as hard for your medical career as any other medical professional out there, so don't let the lack of medical malpractice insurance take that away from you. Talk to an agent about obtaining a policy today.