It is common belief in the medical community that the doctors, physicians and surgeons should concern themselves with liability coverage because they are the primary caregiver in any medical situation and all other medical professionals are simply extensions of the practicing doctor. This belief is shared with the misconception that because the doctor is the lead in a health care team, they are the only professional that is sued by patients during a malpractice case.
This is far from the truth and it is essential that a paramedic concern themselves with medical malpractice coverage just as much as the medical team at the hospital if they wish to protect themselves from losses during a court case. Each member of a medical team, from the paramedic to the surgeons is considered by the law to be an individually licensed professional in their respective fields and is held accountable for their work. This means that a paramedic can be included in an ongoing court case or a separate claim can be filed by the prosecution.
Medical malpractice cases are a specialized form of tort litigation. Anytime someone has harmed another individual in a manner that is not criminal or a violation of a contract, it is labeled within the courts as a tort case. These are the most expensive type of claim that is filed within the legal system, involving highly specialized lawyers, professional witnesses and multiple court appearances through out the stages of these cases. Even if a medical professional wins the case, the cost of malpractice claims can be unaffordable.
What is Paramedic Malpractice Insurance?
While the term can cover a broad range of specific topics and situations, one of the most common reasons behind malpractice cases for emergency response teams is negligence. A paramedic can be considered negligent for failing to perform a duty that has a direct result of injury or performing a duty that was not required resulting in damages. Insurance will cover the individual profession during these expensive and often complicated court proceedings in which the individual’s duties and results of those duties are questioned. Though it is not a paramedic requirement to obtain personal malpractice insurance, it is essential to protect the individual’s rights as a medical professional.
Whether a case has been established in court or a complaint made to the licensing board, a paramedic can often find their license is in jeopardy. It is essential that the professional have legal representation during the board hearing and costs can become expensive. A paramedic’s license is there financial lively hood, having cost thousands in student loans and years to obtain. Loosing a license during these proceedings simply because the medical professional could not afford proper legal representation is devastating. Paramedic malpractice insurance will cover the costs of license protection including lawyer fees.
In addition, Paramedic insurance for malpractice will cover the individual during unique situations such as moonlighting and curbside evaluation claims that occur outside of work. Medical professionals often find themselves being asked for recommendations outside of the work environment which can lead to a malpractice case if the advice given leads to injury. A good malpractice insurance policy will cover the individual 24 hours a day for claims such as these.
Why Individual Paramedic Liability Insurance Is Important
A common error among paramedics is relying on employer coverage to protect them during a medical malpractice case without ever reading over the company policy. Employer liability coverage is not implemented to protect the employee during a case though many paramedics believe that in the case of a lawsuit their employer’s insurance policy will protect them. The reality is that the employer’s coverage is in place solely based on the understanding that the employer is responsible for the actions of its medical staff therefore the policy is tailored to protect the employer in the event of a malpractice claim. If a paramedic relies solely on its employer’s coverage and there is a conflict of interest between employer and employee during a case, the coverage will not have the medical professional’s best interests in mind. It represents the employer as a client, not the medical professional.
Employer malpractice insurance does not coverage licensing protection. If a case is filed in malpractice against a paramedic or a complaint made to a licensing board, employer insurance for liability does not cover the costs of a licensing board hearing. If a paramedic must go before the licensing board, it is important to have attorney representation and an employer’s policy will not cover that expense.
Moonlighting can cause problems for a paramedic when it concerns employer coverage. Many paramedics work in 12 hour rotations and in many cases seek additional employment with another company during their off time, considering their position part-time. The dual positions can often cause fatigue for medical professionals which leads to problems on one or both shifts. In a medical malpractice case where fatigue may come into consideration, both employers may decide that it is not their responsibly to cover the case because it is the employees choice to moonlight.
What to Look for When Choosing Insurance
Good insurance protects an individual medical professional in courts cases and license hearings when malpractice has been claimed by a patient and has the interests of the individual in mind, not the employer. A valuable insurance policy should include:
- Reasonable insurance costs starting at around $100 per month up to $20 per week
- Coverage should include at least $1,000,000 in professional liability
- Provide up to $3,000,000 aggregated professional liability coverage-which is the total amount of yearly coverage you will receive for medical malpractice claims
- Should be occurrence-based coverage
- A great insurance company includes the Defense costs in coverage as well as deposition representation
- The policy should also include license protection and representation during a board hearing
- In addition, paramedics will find some companies that provide 24 hour coverage- including during work hours, after work hours with curbside recommendation lawsuits and be individual-case based.
Paramedics may find that they are given the option paramedic school to begin their malpractice insurance policy with recommendations from teachers and professionals. In other instances the school may have a mandatory coverage policy in place. Individuals can seek malpractice insurance independently or through an employer recommended company. It is advised that a paramedic begin coverage as soon as internships or on-the-job training begins.
Do remember that Paramedic Training Spot is your #1 option for finding the best and most relevant information pertaining to how you can become a paramedic.