Many nurses assume that they are insured against medical malpractice suits by their employer's medical professional liability insurance. However, what most nurses don't know is that the medical malpractice insurance their employer provides may only cover them during their regular shifts within the workplace.
You may be leaving yourself wide open for a malpractice lawsuit if you:
- Stop to help someone who's had an accident on your route home even despite Good Samaritan laws that are on the books in most states.
- Give medical advice to a family member or friend.
- Assist with a medical procedure after your shift has ended or outside your expertise.
- Offer you extra protection in case a settlement exceeds your employer's medical malpractice insurance coverage limits.
- Provide you with your own lawyer so that your interests are protected in a lawsuit involving you and your employer.
- Give you the peace of mind to help others when you need to without having to worry about a potential lawsuit.
Examine your employer's healthcare liability insuranceBefore shopping for your own nursing malpractice insurance, you'll want to know what you're already covered for. This will determine how much coverage you need and in what areas you are particularly vulnerable.
Obtain quotes from medical malpractice insurance companiesCompanies offering malpractice insurance for nurses will give you a quote on their policies. Many have online resources like instant quotes and forms you can fill out to receive more information on available policies. Take advantage of these resources, and review the medical liability insurance policies for which you may qualify.
Talk to an agent about nursing malpractice insuranceWhile getting an online quote can be a helpful start, you must talk to an insurance professional about your particular needs. This is a great way to gauge customer service too. If you are not familiar with the company, make sure that it's been in business for a while and that it has provided reputable services and policies to nurses.
Weigh the medical malpractice policy options against your riskSome policies may cover more than you need or may cost too much for your overall budget. Factor in your employer's insurance, your nursing specialty, your budget and the likelihood of performing various procedures to better assess the medical liability insurance you need before selecting the one that is right for you. Special circumstances and certain specialties may require different policies or coverage than a nurse working in, say, a general practitioner's office.
- Talk to other nurses who you work with about which medical liability insurance they have. Post questions about insurance on nursing message boards or forums for more firsthand information on specific companies.
- Ask the nursing associations that you belong to which medical malpractice insurance company they recommend. Some nursing associations partner with particular insurance companies, most often NSO.