The Importance of Medical Malpractice Insurance
As we have discussed, the economic consequences of a birth injury are severe. Children with birth injuries frequently require a lifetime of specialized care from doctors, therapists, nurses and other healthcare providers. Some children with severe cerebral palsy may require around-the-clock nursing care.
What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Medical malpractice insurance is not so different from insurance that most of us are familiar with, like automobile insurance and homeowner’s insurance. If a guest slips and falls in our home, our homeowner’s insurance will be available to pay for any injuries if certain conditions are met. If we negligently run a red light and t-bone another vehicle, our automobile insurance will pay the hospital bills of the other car’s passengers. In most cases, insurance like this protects people from accidents—we all make mistakes, whether in our personal or professional lives.
Medical malpractice insurance operates in much the same way. If a doctor doesn’t properly evaluate a baby’s condition and causes brain damage, the baby (and the baby’s parents) may have a claim against the doctor for negligence. The doctor did not intend to make a mistake, but he did not act as he should have. Even doctors, as much money as they sometimes make, do not necessarily have the funds on hand to pay for the costs associated with an accident. Therefore, some doctors (and hospitals and other healthcare providers) will have medical malpractice insurance.
How do I know if my Doctor has Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Not all states require doctors to carry medical malpractice insurance. It is not hard to find stories of people who were injured by doctors who did not have medical malpractice insurance. Those that do may not require a sufficient amount of coverage.
The best way to know is to ask. It can be an uncomfortable question, but it is best to get the question out of the way in the beginning. You can ask when you are making your first appointment, or with your first interview with the doctor. Find out how much insurance they have, and ask to see a certificate of coverage.
How Much Insurance is Enough?
The question of how much insurance is required depends on the type of doctor and, importantly, the type of procedure you or your family members are having. The question to ask is typically, in the worst-case scenario, what can go wrong? For a obstetrician or midwife delivering a baby, the consequences can be severe and can include a lifetime of permanent injury. Successful birth injury cases can result in verdicts of millions of dollars. Oftentimes, the plaintiffs recover from several insurance policies. Payment might come from the hospital’s insurance and individual doctor insurance policies.
After an injury, a doctor may not tell you whether they have medical malpractice insurance. Our experience is that most doctors are covered, and we can usually determine quickly whether a doctor has coverage for accidental medical injuries. If you want to explore your options, contact our medical malpractice attorneys at (440) 252-4399 or online for a free consultation.