Essential Guide to Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance

If you’re a physician considering working locum tenens, you may have questions about how your medical malpractice liability will be covered while on assignment. The threat of a malpractice lawsuit is real, but if you arm yourself with facts and get the right staffing partner on your side, an adverse event doesn’t mean that your career or reputation will be damaged.

Read the full guide here, or browse highlights by topic.

The Risk

of physicians surveyed last year by Medscape said they’d been named at least once in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

of that group said it had happened to them more than once.

of the doctors who said they were sued reported being surprised that someone took legal action against them.

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The Cost

When you add the value of your time, travel, and lost billings, the financial ripple effect of dealing with malpractice can be significant.

ACCORDING TO THE REPORT, THE LAWSUIT PROCESS LASTED

2 YEARS FOR 40%


5 YEARS+ FOR 10%


The cost of malpractice insurance premiums depends on a number of variables:

  • the state you practice in
  • your specialty
  • the hours you work
  • your claim history
  • your malpractice insurance provider
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The Coverage

There are two types of coverages generally available, occurrence and claims made. Each has its own benefits and are priced accordingly.

AN OCCURRENCE POLICY

Protects you from covered incidents that arise out of acts or omissions occurring during the policy period, regardless of when a claim is filed.

A CLAIMS-MADE POLICY

Protects you from covered incidents that arise out of acts or omissions that occurred during the policy period, but will only provide coverage for claims made during the policy period. Tail coverage can be obtained to provide additional protection for claims made after the expiration date of the original claims-made policy.

For all of its locum tenens physicians, Weatherby procures a claims-made policy in the amount of $1,000,000 per incident, $3,000,000 annual aggregate, except where states require other limits. Weatherby further procures tail coverage to account for future claims that may arise.

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The Process

NO CLAIM OR LAWSUIT:

For an adverse event where there is no known claim or lawsuit pending, the physician contacts Weatherby Healthcare and an experienced risk manager takes confidential notes on the incident.

YES CLAIM OR LAWSUIT:

The Weatherby risk management team assigns a local lawyer to your case. When we move forward with litigation, your risk manager monitors every step of the case.

DEPOSITIONS:

You may be called to give a deposition, as sworn evidence is an integral part of establishing the facts in a medical malpractice case. If the need arises, we have expert lawyers who have defended physicians for many years available to assist you with professional deposition preparation.

Your Weatherby risk manager will communicate with you throughout the process and include you in any resolution decisions.

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The Outcomes

NOT ALL OUTCOMES ARE BAD:

  • 67% of the doctors who responded to the Medscape survey said that their lawsuit had no negative effects on their medical career.

  • While settlements are recorded in the National Practitioner Data Bank, they may not prevent you from getting future jobs.

  • Many cases end in dismissal, either because we’re successful in pursuing them on legal grounds, or because we’re able to achieve dismissal on factual grounds at some later stage.

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Your Role

Your obligation is to notify us immediately of any adverse patient outcome which results in injury to a patient or a claim for damages. The initial interview with our risk management team gives you a safe opportunity to document any information that could benefit you in the event that legal proceedings arise. This information remains secure and confidential.

Weatherby will handle any claim that’s brought against you, retain top-tier local defense attorneys, pay all litigation costs without any erosion of your coverage, and pay damages in the event of a settlement or judgment against you in the amount of up to $1 million per occurrence and up to $3 million in annual aggregates. We have a 40-year history and a verifiable reputation to back that commitment.

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To learn more, view our full malpractice guide.

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