Compared to those who do not have highly specialized training in certain fields, certain professionals are held to more rigid standards under the law. This is often the case for professionals who are entrusted with the care and wellbeing of those that they serve. For these individuals, that also means that they will need to acquire a more specialized type of professional liability insurance commonly known as malpractice coverage.
Malpractice coverage is different from more standard business insurance policies because it covers liability based on their role as a professional. It is important for licensed professionals to determine the type of coverage that their role requires and how extensive that coverage will need to be in order to effectively protect themselves from potential risks.
Who Needs Professional Liability Insurance?
Although doctors and lawyers are likely the most common professionals that need malpractice insurance, other professionals may need this type of coverage as well. Whether you are an accountant or a doctor, each profession has its own unique standards of conduct which may vary from state to state. Depending on the circumstances, failing to abide by these predetermined standards can be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.
These lawsuits can have many names, but malpractice is likely the most well-known. Depending on the professional, some common forms of insurance coverage that may apply can include: types of liability insurance, malpractice insurance, or errors and omissions coverage. Although each of these types of policies provides coverage to professionals, there are key differences between them. For example, an errors and omissions plan will provide coverage for claims made as a result of human error which causes a defect in a product/service delivered to a consumer – this is different from malpractice coverage which has its own unique focus.
Malpractice Insurance for Doctors and Other Healthcare Professionals
Doctors are perhaps the most well-known beneficiaries of malpractice coverage. For example, it can be common for surgeons to use their medical malpractice insurance due to the nature of their work. But in reality, virtually any medical professional can be sued for their actions, including nurses. Medical facilities may also carry medical malpractice insurance because they may be considered responsible for the actions of their employees. Those who likely should be covered include:
- Medical facilities
- Medical spas
- Primary care physicians
- Physical therapists
- Physicians (of all specialities)
- Surgeons (of all specialities)
- Nursing employment services
- Other medical professionals/facilities
Medical malpractice insurance will apply if a medical professional gets sued in their professional capacity. Usually, it is because of a mistake or because the plaintiff is alleging that the doctor or other medical professional did not act within the standard of care that is common for a professional with the same training or experience. Although medical malpractice claims are numerous, some of the most common medical malpractice disputes arise as a result of:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Childbirth-related injuries
- Errors in prescribing medication
- Errors in administering anesthesia
- Other surgery-related errors
Medical malpractice insurance will provide a defense to whomever it covers once the insurance company makes a determination that the coverage applies. It may also provide coverage for expenses related to medical damages, pain and suffering, missed work, loss of potential earnings, loss of consortium, and more if a court (or the insurance company) determines that the medical professional or facility is indeed at fault.
Medical malpractice insurance likely will not apply if the error was more than a simple mistake. For example, in situations where the healthcare professional does something harmful on purpose, coverage will most likely not apply. The specifics of each malpractice coverage policy is different, so discussing the options with a business insurance professional is recommended prior to acquiring malpractice coverage.
Legal Malpractice Coverage
Another more commonly known malpractice coverage is designed for attorneys. Like doctors, lawyers have more specialized training and knowledge that makes them much more familiar with the law than the average person. That means that (like doctors) they are held to a higher standard. The major difference between the two professional coverages is that medical malpractice claims usually involve a personal injury while legal claims usually involve a monetary injury.
Common situations where lawyers experience legal malpractice lawsuits include but are not limited to:
- Failure to know or apply the law as required
- Planning errors (deadlines, preparation for trial, etc.)
- Failure to file documents
- Conflict of interest
- Failure to obtain client consent
- Civil rights violations
- Clerical errors
- And more
Legal malpractice claims are sometimes unique compared to other professional liability insurance because part of the determination for damages is whether the lawyer would have won the case if it were not for their mistake or omission. Sometimes this can lead to a trial within a trial, making defending a legal malpractice case very costly.
Like medical malpractice coverage, legal malpractice coverage may not apply if the lawyer was deliberately doing something illegal. Again, every policy is different, so legal professionals may want to speak with their coverage provider so that they have a more thorough understanding of how their policy is protecting them.
The Business Benefits Group is Ready to Help!
Due to the nature of their work, certain professionals will simply require more coverage than others. For these professionals, protecting themselves or their practice/firm is essential due to the likelihood that a lawsuit will arise at some point in time. The highly qualified business insurance consultants of The Business Benefits Group can help these professionals to analyze their risks and determine the exact policy and amount that best suits their needs.
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Our dedicated business insurance consultants have extensive experience working with professionals from industries that require more specialized professional liability coverage and/or malpractice coverage. If you are interested in discussing your coverage needs or would like to learn more about the benefits of our reliable business insurance services – contact BBG by calling directly or by sending us an online message today today.