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What to Know About Your Doctor’s Medical Malpractice Insurance

April 29, 2024

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Although Ohio isn’t one of the seven states in the U.S. that requires doctors to carry medical malpractice insurance, most doctors who practice in the Buckeye State have it anyway. That’s because they’re often required to carry it by the hospitals or clinics they work for, or because they simply want to protect themselves if they’re ever sued for medical malpractice.

If you believe that you or someone you love was harmed by a doctor, their malpractice insurance will play a big role if you decide to file a medical malpractice claim against them.

Although you don’t need to be an expert in malpractice insurance to file a successful claim, it’s helpful to understand the basics of this type of insurance. This includes knowing how it can protect doctors, compensate injured patients, and often requires the help of an experienced law firm to properly navigate.

It Provides Financial Protection for Your Doctor

Medical malpractice insurance provides financial coverage for healthcare providers—such as doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals—against claims of negligence or malpractice. Without this insurance, the financial burden of a lawsuit could be devastating for a healthcare provider, potentially leading to bankruptcy or the end of a medical career.

However, medical malpractice insurance providers are reluctant to pay out on claims, and instead typically try to prove that their policyholder is not at fault or that no malpractice occurred.

It Can Provide Compensation for You if You’re Harmed by Negligence

Medical malpractice insurance ensures that there is a source of compensation for patients who are harmed due to medical negligence. If a healthcare provider is found to be at fault in a malpractice claim, the insurance coverage can pay for damages awarded to the patient, which may include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs.

However, since medical malpractice insurance providers often deny claims, it can be a struggle for patients to receive a settlement even when their medical provider is insured if they don’t have an experienced lawyer fighting for them.

How Much Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cost Healthcare Providers?

According to the American College of Surgeons, medical malpractice liability premiums are around 3.2% of healthcare providers’ income. However, this percentage can be higher for certain specialties. For example, healthcare providers in obstetrics/gynecology, neurosurgery, and thoracic surgery may pay as much as 5% of their annual income in insurance premiums.

How Much Money Can I Get from My Doctor’s Malpractice Insurance?

The amount of money you can receive from your doctor's malpractice insurance if you decide to sue for medical malpractice depends on a variety of factors, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer.

The potential amount of compensation you might receive can be influenced by:

  • The Severity of Your Injury: The more severe and long-lasting your injury or illness that caused by your doctor’s negligence, the higher the potential compensation. This can include both physical and emotional injuries.
  • Your Current and Future Medical Costs: The compensation you receive should cover past, current, and future medical expenses related to the malpractice and ensuing damages you suffered.
  • Your Current and Future Lost Income: If your injury or illness has impacted your ability to work, the compensation you get from your doctor’s malpractice insurance can include lost wages and loss of earning capacity.
  • Your Current and Future Pain and Suffering: This compensates you for the physical and emotional distress caused by your injury or illness. Ohio caps pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases at $250,000 or three times the economic damages up to a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff. In cases of catastrophic injury, the cap rises to $500,000 per plaintiff.
  • Insurance Policy Limits: The doctor's malpractice insurance policy will have a maximum limit, which can also affect the amount of compensation available. In Ohio, many policies are limited to $1 million per claim and $3 million per year.

What Are the Challenges of Getting a Settlement from Malpractice Insurance?

Medical malpractice insurance companies are experienced in defending against claims and have a lot of resources to do so. They often employ strategies such as initially denying claims to deter patients from seeking compensation. Other methods include demanding extensive and costly documentation to prove negligence, disputing the healthcare provider's liability or the causality of injuries, and minimizing the severity of injuries.

They also may prolong legal processes to pressure patients into accepting smaller settlements and use expert witnesses to challenge claims of negligence. Malpractice insurers sometimes make low initial settlement offers in the hopes that patients will accept them due to mounting medical bills and lost wages.

Our Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help You Get Fair Compensation

The healthcare industry is well protected against medical malpractice claims. In addition to doctors, hospitals, and clinics rarely, if ever, admitting fault for negligence and preventable mistakes, their insurance providers are also adept at denying liability and fair settlements.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Ohio medical malpractice attorneys have decades of experience building cases against negligent doctors, hospitals, and healthcare facilities. We know the tricks and tactics they use to deny liability, and how to combat them. In addition, we have the experience and resources to take on big malpractice insurers who refuse to pay our clients the money they’re owed.

If you believe you or a loved one were injured by a healthcare provider, we want to help. Contact us today for a free case review.

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