Many physicians are acutely aware that although accidents are a natural element of human nature, even a slight, unintentional mistake could lead to a dire outcome that may include a medical malpractice lawsuit. According to the AMA, more than one-third of physicians confront a malpractice lawsuit throughout their career, with nearly one-half being sued before age 55.
Research for Johns Hopkins published in November 2021 indicates that medical negligence appears to be the third most common cause of death in the country. Evidence also indicates that physicians are best protected from malpractice claims when they have a comprehensive malpractice insurance plan lined up. Though some employers offer malpractice insurance, medical professionals should note how their employers’ plans differ from independently acquired options, as the latter may provide greater protection.
According to Jordan Fensterman—partner at Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman Eisman, Formato, Ferrara, Wolf, & Carone, LLP—and William Crutchlow—medical malpractice and personal injury lawyer at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP—malpractice insurance falls into two main categories:
❯ Claims-made policies: These offer complete coverage, but only if the policy was active both during the time at which an alleged malpractice situation occurred and when the lawsuit was filed.
❯ Occurrence policies. Such policies provide protection if the policy was in effect neither at the time of the malpractice event nor when the lawsuit was filed.
Even though most employers offer claims-made policies, which are the less expensive option, Fensterman feels that many legal experts would not recommend going that direction due to the more substantial coverage provided by occurrence policies.