Be fair and speak with the doctor rather than making a wrong assumption. The NASW Assurance Services organization offers all kinds of insurance including professional liability, general liability, cyber liability, cyber device liability, term life, health insurance, and auto and home insurance. Remember that you are the named defendant in a lawsuit and not your employer. An example of joint liability in a medical malpractice case is two surgeons who are both performing an operation. Reporting the potential claims will not increase your malpractice rates. Even seemingly minor injury cases may require a medical malpractice lawsuits to compensate the patient for their losses. Meet with or talk to your lawyer as soon as possible. If you must add something to the record, appropriately date and time the addendum. As much as a malpractice suit may be a red flag, it doesn't necessarily mean that it was justified. It probably wouldn’t go anywhere, I was told, as my experience with the patient was so brief. For these reasons, it’s wise to consult an experienced attorney to first discuss whether or not you have a viable malpractice claim. I was in scrubs and completely caught off guard. If you are named in a malpractice suit, it is not the end of the world; the odds are on your side, and as a long as you have done what you believed was in the best interest of the patient, chances are you will be exonerated. JOHN SHUFELDT, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP Just because your doctor or any other medical professional made a mistake about your care, it does not amount to medical malpractice ☎️ call us Aiding in Your Own Defense In addition, medical malpractice cases usually involve complex medical issues. What should you do if named in a medical malpractice law suit? Review the perils, benefits, and limits in your NASW Risk Retention Group insurance policies: NASW Assurance Services, Inc [email protected], Enhanced Coverage Benefits for NASW Members, ASI’s Professional Liability Insurance Program website, When you receive the notification letter, telephone call, or email that you are named as a defendant in a lawsuit, notify your insurance carrier. Plaintiffs typically seek to name any potential party in a lawsuit to enhance the settlement potential for the plaintiff, and additional insureds with their respective insurance carriers are key targets. Many physicians are named in a malpractice suit at least one time in their professional career. Unfortunately, many times we do not take full advantage of the coverage we purchase. When should you report patient complaints to your insurer? At steps 1 or 2 you should have already read your insurance policy contract, not just the Declaration page or the marketing text about the policy you own. According to the National Law Review, a recent case illustrated that this is not a wise choice. Consequently, the odds are against your being able to dodge the bullet forever. But first and foremost, review your own existing insurance policies to determine what insurance coverage you have and think about the gaps that exist for which you are not covered. The safer course of action is to seek the guidance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. This applies to your professional activity as well as your auto and homeowners policies, and even your life and health insurance coverage. Your employer may also be named in the lawsuit. Dismiss them from your practice as soon as practicable. Due to the serious consequences and the limited time frame for filing a lawsuit, victims should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as quickly as possible. Having this knowledge can help you to better weather that storm. Medical malpractice happens when a healthcare professional’s negligent actions directly cause harm or injury to a patient. You can even improve upon those odds if you follow a few simple steps. It is easy to let the painful process of a lawsuit take over your emotions and make you bitter. Also, once you have been named, you should not communicate directly with the patient unless they are being seen for a medical condition. An attorney will help guide you through the specifics of the case and will acquaint you with … If you are planning to file a medical malpractice claim, prepare well for the initial consultation with your St. Louis medical malpractice attorney. Simple and Quick Reaction Steps If You Are Named in a Lawsuit. After you report the notification of a lawsuit against you to your insurance carrier, follow up your initial dialogue with your insurance carrier with a certified U.S. Mail letter to your insurance carrier. To prove that medical malpractice occurred, you must be able to show all of these things:A doctor-patient relationship existed. Every state has its own laws and regulations regarding personal injury. It’s not only important to ensure you’re up-to-speed about a patient’s condition and care, but it’s also a simple matter of courteousness. But this isolates many physicians during a period for which they are unprepared for. That means to read and understand what your employer has that may cover you. Finally, medical malpractice insurance is a cost of doing business, as is the trauma of being named in a suit. Clearly, a physician does not need to report every little issue that a patient complains about. Often times, the insurer along with consul can mitigate the damages of a bad outcome case if it was reported early enough. Read on to learn the situations that lead to malpractice suits and what you can do to limit your exposure. The result of this is that now someone else will be named and will often point the finger right back at them. I would make zero assumptions when it comes to legal issues and your medical career. If the lawsuit involves your employer, contact your employer’s risk manager only, and preferably with your lawyer on the phone, or have your lawyer do it. Another important caveat: Do not in any way alter the medical record. I received the initial letter of intent while at work. Reading the insurance policy contract will enable you to understand the perils, benefits, limits, processes, procedures, and instructions to validate that eligible risks are shifted to the insurance carrier, and what you are actually covered for. He neglected to realize that all dictated notes have a “date dictated” and “date transcribed” annotation at the end of the dictation. Events that trigger malpractice claims against therapists and counselors. In order for your defense team to work to its optimum level, all members of the team need to be working in concert with the common goal of mitigating  your professional  and financial damages. If a lawsuit is filed, let us say, on the last day of the statute of limitations, and names the wrong person as a defendant, it can create a whole host of problems. After you receive a summons, you need to report it to your insurer immediately. My patient’s family had opened a file and needed the medical records. Simply refer their questions to your lawyer. Which documents do you need to gather before filing a medical malpractice claim? It makes you feel like keeping it to yourself, Dr. Sullivan said. Plaintiffs’ attorneys love when professionals point fingers at one another. Once you report the claim to your insurer, make sure you do your best to assist the claims representative. Normally, the parties must disclose the expert medical witnesses that will be called to testify on their behalf. What to do if you suspect medical malpractice: don’t contact the hospital - yet. If still in doubt, the default position is to simply report the incident to your carrier. Sharing the Bad News In a malpractice suit, you will be trying to recoup damages for the negligent or incompetent behavior of some professional (e.g., attorneys or doctors). Insurers are experts at dealing with malpractice claims, and their resources and expertise should be appropriately utilized when a claim ensues or a potential claim is uncovered. There is absolutely no upside to communicating with the patient about their claim. Your carrier needs your expertise in defending the cause of action. However, in the end, only 20% to 40% of malpractice suits filed against physicians end up with a payout to either the plaintiff or their attorney. Background Data are lacking on the proportion of physicians who face malpractice claims in a year, the size of those claims, and the cumulative career malpractice risk according to specialty. Sometimes, the quality of your counseling or therapy services has little bearing on whether or not a client decides to sue. The hysteroscope is an optical pump device used to examine the … As providers, we pay a significant price for malpractice insurance. Also, taking the extra precaution of having your … After all, correcting the mistake would have to be done after the statute of limitations had expired. That is, the composite payment rate for physicians was twelve times that of PAs over the full study period. Instead, common sense prevails and you sign for the letter informing you that you are a named defendant in a malpractice suit. This article can help you avoid being sued for malpractice in the first place—and tells you what to do if you’re sued or called on to give a deposition. Create your own personal file on a computer that you own and control, or in a paper file that you keep at your home. Prior to actually being served, many patients give the physician a “heads up” that their care did not meet their expectations. If a doctor began seeing you and treating you, it is easy to prove a physician-patient relationship existed. Do not use your employer’s computers, files, workplace, devices, of phones while you work with you lawsuit case. Being named in a malpractice suit is traumatic. When providers engage in finger pointing, the usual end result is that everyone goes down together. Keep your file secure and never reveal its existence to anybody except you own lawyer. I have witnessed a few providers who have been emotionally ruined by going through the process. Plaintiffs typically seek to name any potential party in a lawsuit to enhance the settlement … You will need to provide all relevant information to your attorney to help prepare and litigate your case. In fact, if you have not read your malpractice policy, you should do so now since many policies have very clear guidelines on reporting. The providers were the physician performing the procedure, one scrub nurse, and two circulating nurses, as well as the hospital, and the manufacturer of the hysteroscope. If the patient has taken the time to write you or come in separate from their appointment to discuss their concerns, you should report. You will probably lose your insurance benefits coverage if you ignore the insurance policy directive about defense lawyer selection rights. These “shots over the transom” are a gift. If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, you are urged to contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. (They also get poor patient satisfaction numbers and more … Your file may be a target for a subpoena, or twisted against you by the plaintiff’s lawyer. A malpractice judgment arising from a lawsuit against you can hurt you personally and professionally. If you are unsure, do not talk with a colleague, since that conversation may be admissible as evidence. For example, you can't sue a doctor you overheard giving advice at a cocktail party. If your answer is to move all of your assets into your spouse’s name, think again. Many providers once named will take the “misery loves company” approach and look for other providers and/or institutions to blame. Your front office receptionist informs you that there is a man at the door who says he is a process server, and that he wants you to sign for a registered letter. Aside from the potential financial devastation, it can wreak emotional havoc and strike a fatal blow to your self-confidence and self-esteem. As always, the devil is in the details. Dive Brief: Nearly 60% of doctors in the U.S. have experienced being named in a malpractice suit at least once during their careers, according to a Medscape poll of nearly 4,000 physicians. Again, showing that level of consideration really is meaningful to your patients. This study is supported by other similar studies that place this number anywhere from 55% to 65% out of the total physician population. According to the 2015 Medscape Malpractice Report, 59% of physicians who responded were named in at least one malpractice suit. Physicians, nurses, and other providers named in these cases endure many of the same fears and anxieties experienced by colleagues named in cases that are settled or taken to trial. For medical malpractice defendants, these usually include expert physicians that will testify that the defendant breached the standard of care, as well as witnesses that will testify regarding how your in… Their reaction took a very large toll on their family, their practice, and their mental health. You can’t prepare for threats that you don’t know exist – surveys show that the majority of physicians do not Each issue contains a mix of peer-reviewed clinical and practice management articles that address the distinct clinical and Insurers understand that medicine is a risky business and that not everyone will always have a good outcome. When a malpractice suit is filed, it gets a docket number, a summons is prepared and the doctor is served with a summons and a copy of the lawsuit. If you or someone you love may have suffered medical malpractice, consult the list of common errors provided below. Do not disclose anything to anyone else at your employer about the lawsuit. Initiating a malpractice suit is expensive for the plaintiff's attorney, who must often advance $50,000 or more in expert fees and deposition expenses. You may be named as a defendant in a lawsuit by a far-reaching plaintiff’s lawyer casting a broad net when you were not even directly involved in the case. Even if someone else has some responsibility in the patient’s outcome, the typical rebuttal is that the other named defendants should have identified the error and intervened on the patient’s behalf. What do you do? This means do not cross something out, “lose” a page, remove a lab test or a consult, etc. When things are going well in your job as a nursing professional, it’s easy to forget that the rug can be pulled out easily from underneath you. Try to remember why you went into medicine in the first place: to help people. While the entirety of a medical malpractice case prior to trial can be considered preparation for the trial itself, there are a few specific aspects of preparation that will not occur until a trial is set to begin. Notify your employer. These types of cases can be highly damaging to the patient and can result in life-changing injuries or death. 50 Citizens Way, Suite 304 Do not lose your compassion. These insurance benefits almost always include legal defense costs and indemnity benefits if applicable later. You just feel like you’re alone, and there’s not a lot of help out there for … For high-risk specialties, such as OB/GYN or orthopedic surgery, this number climbs even higher. It is not unusual for a suit to be filed for a death or injury beyond a doctor's control. Under no circumstance should you attempt to call or contact the patient regarding the litigation. Once you are named, you become a member of the defense team along with your claims representative, legal consul, and expert witnesses. Do not hire a lawyer yourself because the insurance carrier usually has the contractual right to select the lawyer since the insurance carrier is paying the legal costs to defend you. Nor do we take the time to read and understand the malpractice policy, its limits, and our responsibilities. If, however, you missed the initial signs and symptoms of the “impossible to please” patient, deal with them in the most professional and polite manner possible and then appropriately dismiss them after the course of their illness. The first instinct on the part of an injured patient is often to reach out to the doctor or hospital administrators to ask for help or demand recourse. Many physicians are named in a malpractice suit at least one time in their professional career. Instead, common sense prevails and you sign for the letter informing you that you are a named defendant in a malpractice suit. That's what the hospital and attorneys will tell you anyway, and seeing as I'm a doctor not a lawyer, that is the best bet. The malpractice suit was brought by the woman’s estate against the providers who supposedly played a role in the events that caused her death. You must show that you had a physician-patient relationship with the doctor you are suing -- this means you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. Consequently, the odds are against your being able to dodge the bullet forever. If at any point in your career you are named directly or named as part of the facility you work with in a medical malpractice law suit, it’s time to contact an attorney. Compassionate doctors, in my opinion, are the best doctors. The main thing is to be objective and goal-oriented. What do you do? If your answer is to move all of your assets into your spouse’s name, think again. Every six months, be personal risk assessment proactive. According to the American Medical News, “the key to surviving a medical malpractice suit is having a strong social support network. Bitter doctors, who do not care about their patients, make bad doctors. Yes A medical malpractice payment made solely for the benefit of a corporation such as a … … The employer’s insurance may not even cover you. An experienced Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. There is one malpractice payment for every 32.5 PAs while there was one for every 2.7 physicians. This evidences your compliance with the insurance policy contract, so the responsibility to defend you is clearly shifted to the insurance carrier, provided that the incident and claim is an eligible claim as defined in the insurance policy contract. Take some time to review the nursing malpractice portion of your liability insurance policy in the event that a patient has named you as part of their lawsuit. A couple weeks later, I got a certified letter from my employer’s medical malpractice insurance company. Attorneys advise their clients not to talk about the case. Malpractice insurers, and those who pay the premiums, bear a significant financial cost (approximately $22,000 in expenses) for each case that has to be investigated and defended until it is formally closed. Make sure to show your diary to your attorney before bringing it to a deposition or to trial, as … I second that named or not ANYTHING that has to do with malpractice you need to be calling some attorney first. Even if you have personal malpractice coverage, your employer may have assistance programs to support you emotionally and financially. Clearly, some patients enter the relationship with expectations which are off the chart, and nothing a provider can do will make the patient happy. Malpractice attorneys deal with malpractice cases regularly, so if you are going to hire an attorney, you should hire a reputable one that has handled similar cases in the past. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. A medical malpractice payment made by a professional corporation or other business entity composed of a sole practitioner (who was named in the complaint and the settlement). They will need your billing history, medical records, every communication about the patient, and any authoritative references which support your treatment decisions. A malpractice judgment arising from a lawsuit against you can hurt you personally and professionally. Your first thought, of course, is to run out the back door of your office or to simply feign a stroke. The employer’s insurance policy protects the employer, and you are not guaranteed to be indemnified by your employer. Needless to say, he paid dearly for that transgression. Take time to talk with the patient, address their concerns, and write off a bill if necessary to make them happy. You may be named as a defendant in a lawsuit by a far-reaching plaintiff’s lawyer casting a broad net when you were not even directly involved in the case. I honestly don’t think it hit me until I got an email from my lawyer introducing herself a… Helping Medical Malpractice Victims through the Complexities of a Claim If you were injured during a hospital stay, contact a law firm with 30 years of personal … This means that, for two or more defendants to be found jointly liable for medical malpractice, they had to have acted in common to cause the harm. As mentioned in a previous article, these are the patients that belong in your competitors’ clinics. The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine® (JUCM) is the official journal of the Urgent Care Association (UCA). I knew a physician who dictated an outrageously defensive operative report 10 days after the surgery and three days after the patient died as if he had just walked right out of the operating room. practice management needs of those who are working in today’s busy urgent care centers. Conduct an audit of your insurance coverage. Frederick, MD 21701 If you keep a written record or diary of the events, make sure it’s factual, concise, and avoids blame. However, there are unique hurdles in medical malpractice cases like filing a certificate of merit and getting the claim past a medical malpractice review board. Do your very best to review your patients’ files before walking in the door for an appointment. My medical director was there, too, and told me not to worry. JUCM’s reach of over 42,000 includes qualified clinicians, business and administrative professionals working in urgent care facilities nationwide, ©2020 - The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine - All Rights Reserved, Chief Executive Officer at MeMD, LLC, Mentor and Author at Outliers Publishing, Principal at Shufeldt Consulting, Founding Partner of Shufeldt Law Firm, What to Do When You Get Named in a Malpractice Suit, How to Define a Type B ED—and Other Vexing Questions. Once you are actually served, ignoring the summons won’t make it go away. Self-Confidence and self-esteem injury beyond a doctor 's control when a healthcare professional ’ s family had a! Ignore the insurance policy directive about defense lawyer selection rights experienced medical malpractice,... Quality of your assets into your spouse ’ s family had opened a file and needed medical. My medical director was there, too, and you sign for the letter informing you that are! 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