The year is 2017 and your practice has been running pretty smoothly. But every once in a while there’s an “uh, oh”. Y’know, some unfortunate mishap, mistake or accident. Don’t trip. The first thing you need to do is snap out of robot mode. You’re a human being, not a T-800 cyborg from the medical future. In fact, the idea of a perfect medical professional is pure science fiction. You’re going to make mistakes and unforeseen things are going to happen. Keep in mind you won’t be able to punch a few buttons and travel back in time to change the past. So, you’ll need to have financial protection right now to avoid some post-apocalyptic liability catastrophe.
First, you need to understand the difference between professional liability/malpractice and general liability. These two types of insurance are available to cover specific circumstances that many medical professionals experience. At Boca Insurance, we’d like to compute the differences between them.
- Malpractice Insurance – This type of insurance provides financial coverage for medical professionals in the event they are sued for malpractice. It’s often assumed that only doctors purchase this type of insurance, but other medical professionals like physical therapists, nurses, dentists, surgeons, optometrists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and even medical schools also purchase malpractice insurance. In fact, they’re sometimes required to before they accept employment or start their own private practice. Malpractice insurance is used by other industries, although the medical industry uses it the most often. In addition to providing protection to medical professional from lawsuits, a policy can provide coverage into the millions of dollars. But the area that the medical professional is located in will determine the specific amount of coverage that’s required(1).
- General Liability Insurance – This type of insurance protects your practice’s assets and covers the medical expenses that may result from someone getting hurt on your premises. It will also pay for property damage or injuries that you’ve caused or your employees have caused. If you’re slandered, defamed or accused of false advertising, the policy will provide coverage. In the case that you may need a legal defense, this insurance will cover the cost of attorneys and any settlements you may owe if you lose a lawsuit filed against you. The plaintiff will receive compensatory damages, which is money awarded to them for a specific loss, detriment or injury. In addition, the plaintiff may receive money for non-monetary losses that they’ve suffered, along with punitive damages. And if you’re leasing a space, you will be covered for damage that you cause to the property(2).
Face it, there may be some short circuits in your practice at some point, but with the right insurance, you’ll have the protection you need to repair those unfortunate situations. Just remember, you’re not a machine and even they malfunction from time to time. For more tips contact us!