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General Liability Insurance for Healthcare Professionals
As a healthcare professional, you probably see dozens of patients every week. Regardless of how carefully you perform your job, there’s a good chance that, at some point, one of them will be dissatisfied with your work. Because we live in a society that relies ever more on lawsuits for resolving disputes, that dissatisfaction could lead to a lawsuit. When you invest in a General Liability Insurance policy, you provide yourself with financial protection against such lawsuits.
If, for example, a patient tripped while in your office space and broke a bone from the fall, he or she could potentially sue you for the cost of medical bills. Your General Liability policy will cover the legal costs associated with defending yourself, including attorney’s fees, docket costs, and any settlements or judgments you’re found to be liable for. Whether or not a court determines that you’re at fault, your insurance would cover the associated costs.
One important aspect of General Liability Insurance to note is that it does not protect you against claims of professional negligence. That is, if a patient claims that your advice or treatment caused him or her to suffer an injury, your General Liability policy would offer no coverage. In that instance, you would need Malpractice Insurance (also known as Professional Liability or Errors and Omissions Insurance).
Malpractice Insurance / Errors & Omissions Coverage for Healthcare Professionals
When your work involves making sure your patients become or stay healthy, the stakes are high for avoiding mistakes. A mistake for a healthcare professional could lead to injury, illness, or even death of a patient. For that reason, and because of the high cost of defending yourself against claims of malpractice, it’s often a good idea for healthcare professionals to invest in Malpractice Insurance.
Your Malpractice Insurance coverage takes effect when you or one of your employees is charged with causing a direct loss (financial or physical) to a patient. As with General Liability Insurance, your Malpractice Insurance will cover both court costs and any award or settlement costs associated with a case, up to the limit of your policy, regardless of whether or not you were actually at fault.
Even if you’re confident in the work you do and have never been sued, you should at least consider Malpractice Insurance. Often, malpractice suits are more a reflection on the attitude of the patient than on the performance of the healthcare professional being sued.
Umbrella Insurance / Excess Liability Insurance for Healthcare Professionals
Umbrella Insurance provides healthcare professionals with a simple, cost-effective way to extend their coverage on a number of policies at the same time. When you purchase an Umbrella policy, you can extend the coverage limits on a number of your policies at the same time.
In many cases, healthcare professionals opt for Umbrella Insurance because it is less expensive than increasing the coverage limit on several policies separately. Umbrella coverage kicks in when a healthcare professional faces legal or settlement costs that exceed his or her policy limit: if, for example, you face legal costs of $500,000 and your General Liability policy has a $250,000 limit, your Umbrella Insurance would cover the extra $250,000 not covered by your policy. Umbrella coverage is an alternative to paying for non-covered expenses out of your savings.
Umbrella policies (also known as Excess Liability policies) can typically be purchased in increments of $1 million.
Please note, however, that Umbrella Insurance cannot be applied to Malpractice Insurance (Errors & Omissions) policies. Your insureon agent can help you determine whether or not Umbrella Insurance make sense for your business.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Healthcare Professionals
In most parts of the country, state laws require that you carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance in some form, even, in some places, if you’re the sole employee of your business. Even if your state does not explicitly require you to carry Workers’ Comp Insurance, however, it may be worthwhile to consider a policy.
Workers’ Compensation coverage protects you from claims made by your
Most states require insurance agents (and really, all businesses) to carry at least some form of Workers’ Compensation Insurance—in some places, you’ll be required to carry this insurance even if you’re the sole employee of your business.
Although healthcare professionals and their employees generally have a small probability of bodily injury and work-related ailments, your state could demand Workers’ Compensation Insurance to cover you and your employees. Despite the low foreseeable risks of healthcare professionals, it’s important to recognize that there are no guarantees in any work environment.
Workman’s Compensation Insurance pays for business owner and employee medical expenses in addition to compensating for some of their and your lost wages. Be certain of your Workers’ Comp Insurance obligations when hiring new staff for your business.
If you are unsure about your state’s laws or the effect of the laws where you may conduct business, the insureon healthcare professionals insurance experts can help. Speak with one of our agents today to learn more!
- Prevent malpractice litigation by making decisions with your patient, not just for your patient.
Communicate diligently with your patients so that you both understand every step of their healthcare experience. Inform them of the benefits, costs, risks, and potential outcomes of the various diagnostic or therapeutic procedures that you wish to use, and decide together to go forward in agreement.
- Medical missteps happen, but you can avoid a malpractice claim by being proactive.
If a healthcare or medical error occurs and harms the patient, inform your patient of the mistake immediately and offer a sincere apology. Tell the patient that you have learned from the error and have instituted corrective actions to prevent it from happening again. Offer reimbursement or a settlement if necessary.
- Encourage your patients to speak up.
Make it clear to your patients that they are as much responsible for their health care as you are as their health care provider. Give them ample opportunity and encouragement to discuss their medical history, medications, and insights about their treatment regimen.