Malpractice and medical negligence cases are quite common with patients or their family resorting to litigation for injury caused or in the event of death.
Such negligence usually leads to such instances, and compensation is claimed from the medical practitioner apart from imposing other punitive measures. Doctors’ are exposed to not only financial setbacks but also reputational harm.
Even though such medico-legal cases are low in India, these can drag on for a prolonged period over the years, and the investigation is usually lacklustre in such matters.
The prolonged duration of the cases may compromise the finances of medical practitioners, given that he/she may, after all, be absolved of such charges.
To financially protect themselves from such expenses, doctors can avail malpractice insurance.
What is a malpractice policy for doctors?
The insurance plan provides professional indemnity to doctors to safeguard them from a potential claim arising out of litigation due to alleged medical negligence. It exempts the medical practitioner from the liabilities arising out of damages awarded by courts.
The amount of compensation that doctors have to pay to the patient not only may cause financial duress but also adversely impacts the clinical practice. Doctors avail such professional liability policy to safeguard themselves from compensation claims.
Benefits to check before opting for a professional liability insurance plan
- Insurance coverage
The insurance plan has wide coverage in the backdrop of patients’ increasing expectation of the quantum of compensation, litigation costs, and emerging professional risks. The coverage should include the following aspects that may hedge various professional risks –
- Breach of confidentiality.
- Third-party damages.
- Litigation costs.
- Loss of documents.
- Libel and slander.
- Claims connected to professional services rendered.
- Damages for the professional incident causing loss during the professional indemnity insurance plan period, and within the coverage ambit.
Legal and third party costs make up for most of the expenditure incurred in instances of malpractice and professional liability. The expanse of the coverage should be such that these costs are internalised.
- Coverage amount
Malpractice insurance coverage amount addresses the financial risks arising out of litigation on medical negligence. It is important to opt for such a plan which may be able to provide due coverage as per the doctor’s requirement. The premium of such plan will also have to commensurate to the budge of the medical practitioner.
For instance, reputed Non-Banking Financial Company Bajaj Finserv offers Professional Liability Insurance for doctors with high coverage of up to Rs.1 crore. The coverage amount is dependent on the practice size, budget along with the risks identified.
The company also brings Loan for Doctors, which is specifically designed for the unique personal and professional needs of a medical practitioner. It enables doctors to avail additional funds to meet the necessary demands.
The pre-approved offers provided by this NBFC also make the loan approval process relatively simpler. These offers are available on business loans, personal loans, and a host of other financial products.
- Assets secured from unanticipated risks
Doctors stand to face different kinds of risks if they don’t have professional indemnity insurance. The risks could be in the form of misdiagnosis, surgery-related procedures, incorrect dosage, wrong course of treatment, and defamation, among others.
The professional liability insurance plan will provide much-needed funds during such unexpected circumstances. In the case of medical negligence litigation, a doctor may be ordered to pay high compensation to the patient or the patient’s family. It may lead to mortgage or sale of the medical practitioner’s assets to meet the compensation order.
If the doctor had opted for a malpractice insurance policy, his/her assets would be safeguarded from those claims.
- Provision for legal costs
Defamation ends up hurting clinical practice. It can damage a doctor’s reputation. The professional liability insurance plan provides the requisite fund that would cover the legal cost to hire lawyers to pre-empt any such possible damage and adopt necessary corrective measures.
Hence, it is important to choose an appropriate malpractice insurance plan for doctors to mitigate most of the unanticipated risks. While choosing the best insurance plan for doctors, these are a few parameters that need to be kept in mind.
It is important to undertake a cost-benefit analysis in terms of the extent of coverage, claims-handling efficiency of the insurance provider as well as flexibility, among others.