In the medical field, professional liability or malpractice insurance is often thought of as coverage that only doctors need. However smart nurses carry it as well. Professional liability insurance is meant to protect the policyholder in the event that a mistake or accident occurs when dealing with a patient. Nurse’s are not immune to lawsuits, so it is in their best interest to be adequately covered. Below are six reasons to invest in nurses professional liability insurance.
1. What professional liability covers
Professional liability insurance covers the costs associated with a malpractice lawsuit. It includes the cost of a defense attorney as well as any settlement costs against a nurse. Some policies also cover licensing defense if the nurse is reported to the state board of nursing. A nurse who does not carry a professional liability policy will have to pay those costs out-of-pocket should an incident arise where legal help was needed.
2. Employer’s insurance coverage is not sufficient
Many nurses neglect to obtain professional liability insurance thinking that the employer’s insurance will provide sufficient insurance. However, this practice is unwise. According to NurseZone.com, it is a myth that an employer’s insurance policy will protect a nurse. Although an employer might have a sufficient amount of insurance coverage, it does not necessarily extend to nurses. Nurses must ask their employers how much the company’s insurance provides and what instances it covers. Another reason it is important for nurses to have their own professional liability insurance is that an employer has the right to sue a nurse for money that was lost due to negligence on the nurse’s part. Without professional liability coverage, a nurse would have to come up with that money independently.
3. Nurses need coverage outside their place of work
Even if nurses have sufficient coverage at the workplace, it is still advisable to have professional liability insurance. Employer-provided coverage only covers nurses while they are at work or performing nursing duties as a representative of their company. If a nurse performs volunteer work on his or her own time, employer-provided insurance will not be in effect. Unfortunately, if a nurse is volunteering time and talents to help in a non-work-related capacity, and someone gets hurt or injured because of a nurse’s actions, the nurse can be sued. A facility such as a free clinic might be able to protect the nurse, but not every entity will be able to do so. In instances such as this, a nurse needs to have an insurance policy in place to help pay for legal costs associated with a lawsuit.
4. The cost of professional liability insurance for nurses is low
Professional liability insurance for nurses is not extraordinarily expensive. Many years ago when nurses did not make sufficient salaries, malpractice insurance may have been out of the financial reach for most nurses. These days, nurses make a living wage, and premiums have gone down. It is no longer a financial impossibility for nurses to have adequate insurance coverage. Physicians are often told that their best protection is good liability insurance. This piece of advice is true for nurses as well.
5. Nurses can be sued at any time and for any reason
Health care is a tough industry to be in. Nurses enter the field for altruistic reasons and a sincere desire to help people in their times of need. That does not mean they a free from the possibility of lawsuits. Nurses are often the first people with whom a patient deals. They also generally have more contact with patients than anyone else. These situations put nurses at a higher risk of being sued than doctors are. The best way for nurses to be protected is through having a professional liability insurance policy. Even if a nurse never makes a claim against the policy, it provides comforting peace of mind to know that it is there just in case it is needed.
6. Other covered incidents
The day-to-day work of a nurse involves a great deal of contact with patients. Although most of the time spent with patients goes smoothly, there is always the potential for problems to arise. It is for these times that nurses need to be covered by professional liability insurance. Many policies extend coverage to include incidents of slander, libel, charges of confidentiality violation and assault on the job. All of these accusations are harsh and can have severe consequences. Nurses who have professional liability insurance can rest assured that costs associated with lawsuits that result from these accusations will be covered by their policies.
Nurses work hard at their jobs and deserve to be adequately and fairly protected by professional liability insurance. It is the best way for a nurse to have peace of mind that they are financially protected should an incident arise. Discuss professional liability plans with an experienced insurance agent to find out more.
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