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What is Covered by Malpractice Insurance?

Malpractice insurance is an integral part of all requirement towards practicing doctors as it provides reasonable protection and covers costs of a lawsuit that claims misconduct on the part of the doctor. There are a lot of medical institutions that offer medical malpractice insurance as a “special” benefit for doctors as it is usually required. Those health professionals, who plan to open clinics on their own, have to purchase liability policy from insurance providers. Malpractice insurance usually differs in accordance with the time patients make claims and what policy insurers can offer.

The main and basic goal of any physician malpractice insurance is to cover the costs of malpractice claims. The claims are usually made when a patient starts to make legal actions against doctor, accusing him of malpractice, opening inquiry for doctor’s practices and treatments towards the patient. Medical malpractice is considered to be any deviation from the standard rules of treatment, i.e. misdiagnosis, doctor’s errors, surgical mistakes etc, all actions that can harm the patient. Unlike malpractice suits that can be generated in various ways, the important part of malpractice insurance is claims itself. Insurance for doctors is aimed at covering legal costs and settlements that a doctor may face but in many ways it depends upon time the claim was filed.

Types of Medical Malpractice Insurance

  1. Occurrence policies. This type of policy will cover any malpractice claims provided that they involve events that took place while the practice was active. That means that a health professional has a right to change insurance broker but the malpractice claim will still be covered by the old policy even if it’s expired already. The legal procedure connected with claim’s investigation has nothing to do with what the insurance will cover. However, occurrence type of policy was widely used in the past but now they are replaced by claims made policies.
  2. Claims made policies. This policy will cover malpractice accident only when the claim itself is made. Therefore, events that cause the malpractice claim may happen at any time in the past; policy will come into action when the claim is legally filed and the court knows about it. In this case, malpractice insurance provider has to provide coverage as long as the policy is in force.
  3. Tail coverage. The previous type of policy is considered to be difficult for medical professionals as there is no connection between the malpractice events and the claim itself. It’s a common practice that many claims are filed years ago after the malpractice took place. Meanwhile, the physician or surgeon may have left the medical practice or worked for another organization with new insurance. Taking into account that claims made policy comes into force when the claim is filed, the new policy or lack of it may not cover the malpractice at all. Under these circumstances some doctors purchase tail coverage that protects them if they change jobs or have their current policy terminated.

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