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Professional Indemnity Insurance

Doctors Getting Sued by Patients Is Common (How Can You Protect Yourself?)

professional indemnity insurance policy

Professional Indemnity Insurance

In addition to being buried under a lot of responsibilities, doctors are constantly exposed to risks. Despite their best efforts and analysis, it’s not always possible to make an accurate diagnosis and provide perfect medical advice. In such instances, they risk getting sued by the patients. Such lawsuits can be quite expensive; especially if the court orders the doctor to pay compensation to the plaintiff. This is why more doctors are now purchasing professional indemnity insurance. If you’re a doctor yourself, you should go the same route to ensure protection against legal claims.

Doctor indemnity insurance is a specific type of personal indemnity insurance designed to address the needs and risks of the doctors. It protects doctors from professional risks like negligence, incorrect medicine advice, misdiagnosis, and other related risks. If someone sues you, this PI insurance will take care of the defense cost, third-party damages, as well as every other legal costs you’ll incur in defending yourself in the lawsuit.

This insurance is also called “Medical malpractice” insurance. The lawsuit can also be as a  result of the failure to supply the proper care that should be administered by a medical professional in any given medical situation. Another cause can be any deviation from accepted standards of medical practice.

Why Patients Sue Doctors?

There are many common reasons why patients sue doctors. Here are some examples:

1. Side effects of medications– Almost every kind of medicine have some side effects. But if these side effects result in evident symptoms, causing problems and discomfort to the patient, they may choose to sue the doctor who prescribed them the medicine.

2. Errors in prescriptions– Doctors in India see tens and hundreds of patients every day. They are in hurry most of the times. In their hurriedness, they may make some prescription errors (like writing ‘100mg’ instead ‘10.0mg’). Such errors can be, at times, fatal. In such a case, the third-party may decide to take legal action against the doctor.

3. Miscommunication– It is the doctor’s responsibility to clearly communicate with the patients and educate them about their problems/conditions. Miscommunication can lead to mistreatment. And this is exactly what happens sometimes. In such cases, the patient can make legal claims against the doctor.

4. No informed consent- This is also a direct outcome of miscommunication. If the patient isn’t properly educated about their condition, they may not be able to make an informed decision. In that, they may provide consent to treatments that they don’t properly understand. Failing to obtain informed consent is a viable ground for the patient to sue the doctor.

5. Lack of needed relief- If the patient is visiting over and again with the same problem – if they are not finding the needed relief despite following all the doctor’s advice and recommendations – they can sue the doctor for the lack of due diligence.

6. Misdiagnosis– Even after doing all the screening tests, misdiagnosis can happen, especially in complicated cases. This then usually results in mistreatment. So, misdiagnosis is a solid reason – and a popular one at that – why patients file lawsuit against the doctor in question.

There are numerous other reasons why a patient can take a doctor to the court of law, including inadequate consideration to the patient’s medical history, abnormal findings, and financially-motivated medical advice. Defending self against such legal claims is costly in itself. If ordered to pay compensation, it all could get costlier. So, for doctors, getting professional indemnity insurance cover is often essential. It’s better to be safe, after all, than be sorry!

Understand What the Professional Indemnity Insurance Covers (And Doesnt Cover)

Much like any other insurance policy, even personal indemnity insurance for doctors isn’t absolute and has its limitations. There are a host of things that it doesn’t cover, like a criminal act, medical practice under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, deliberate negligence, and more. So, before you buy the policy, do consult with a licensed insurance broker and get a clear picture of what the insurance will cover and what it won’t. The insurance broker will also navigate you in determining other possible risks and purchasing the right policy from a reputed insurance company that provides maximum coverage at a lower premium.

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