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Medical Malpractice Insurance: How Does it Work?

By Norman Younker on August 07, 2018


Speaking with an attorneyIn basic terms, medical malpractice insurance is a type of specialized professional liability insurance for doctors, surgeons, and other kinds of medical professionals. It is sometimes referred to as medical professional liability insurance. This coverage is essential for disputed services in which medical professional’s actions are thought to have caused or contributed to a patient’s injury or death.

There are two different kinds of medical malpractice insurance policies: claims-made and occurrence made. Our team of Salt Lake City, UT medical malpractice lawyers would like to go over the way this coverage works and how it can impact your negligence case against a doctor.

Claims-Made Policies

Claims-made policies protect the insured medical professional as long as the policy was in effect when the alleged act of malpractice occurred and when the claim was initially reported.

Say that the insurance policy covers January 2010 through December 2020. If the alleged malpractice took place in February 2020 and the claim was made in June 2020, the medical professional is covered since both dates are within the policy period. However, if the alleged malpractice took place in November 2020 and the claim was made January 2021, the medical professional is not covered.

Keep in mind that tail and nose coverage may apply in such cases, with tail coverage protecting doctors for claims made after the end of coverage, and nose covers protecting doctors for claims made before the beginning of coverage.

Occurrence-Made Policies

Occurrence-made policies will protect the insured medical professional for any incidents that occurred when the policy was in effect, even if the claim was made after the end of the policy.

In these cases, if coverage lasted until December 2020 and the incident occurred in November 2020, the doctor is still protected by the medical liability insurance even if the claim was made in early 2021.

Coverage Limits for Medical Malpractice Insurance

For doctors with this insurance coverage, their medical malpractice insurance will cover various expenses associated with defending and/or settling a case. This might include the following:

  • Lawyer’s fees
  • Court and other legal costs
  • Arbitration costs
  • Settlement amounts
  • Compensatory damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Medical expenses

There are two kinds of coverage-limits: per-occurrence and aggregate. Per-occurrence coverage limits refer to the total amount the insurer will pay for a single medical malpractice claim. Aggregate limits refer to the highest amount paid in a specified period of time.

How Medical Malpractice Insurance Affects Legal Cases

Given that there are varying coverage limits, a doctor may wind up being personally financially responsible for legal expenses and damages in excess of their coverage limit. This can impact the injured patient and their loved ones, who will now have to recover damages directly from the doctor rather than from the insurance company.

How Our Lawyers Can Help You

Our team of attorneys has a deep understanding of how these insurance policies work and what can be done if the amounts sought exceed a doctor’s coverage limits. We can look into these matters for you and help determine the most ideal course of action to ensure damages are collected for the injuries and losses a doctor has caused.

Contact Our Team of Attorneys

For more information about your legal rights and options in doctor negligence cases, be sure to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. The attorneys of Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC are here to help you in your time of legal need.

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