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Do Doctors Pay Medical Malpractice Claims Out of Pocket?

May 23, 2024

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Medical malpractice is scary for everyone in healthcare, including both providers and patients. Healthcare providers fear being accused of medical malpractice because of the legal, ethical, and psychological impact it can have. Meanwhile, patients fear being victims of medical malpractice because of the devastating outcomes it can have on their health.

When malpractice occurs, doctors rarely admit that they made mistakes due to negligence. On the flip side, patients sometimes refuse to file claims against their doctors for making a mistake because they don’t want to ruin their personal or professional relationship with them, especially if it’s a doctor they have known, liked, and trusted for many years.

However, filing a medical malpractice claim is often the best option for patients injured in the course of their treatment. Furthermore, doing so doesn’t have to endanger the doctor’s livelihood, either.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Pays for Most Claims

A 2023 study by the American Medical Association found that 31.2% of doctors reported at least one lawsuit had been filed against them at some point during their careers. Among doctors age 55 and older, the percentage increases to 46.8%.

Because doctors have a high risk of eventually getting sued for medical malpractice, most choose to purchase or are required to purchase medical malpractice insurance policies by the hospitals and clinics where they work. The cost of medical malpractice policies varies among providers, with surgeons often paying the highest premiums.

While it’s true that doctors with medical malpractice policies often pay some or all of their premiums out of pocket, they usually don’t pay much, if anything, if they’re successfully sued for medical malpractice.

Doctors Who Opt Out of Medical Malpractice Insurance DO Pay Out of Pocket

Doctors who work for hospitals and healthcare clinics are typically required to have active medical malpractice insurance policies to stay employed. However, doctors who own their own practices or who work for clinics that don’t require malpractice insurance may go without it by choice.

Although this can save them a lot of money on insurance premiums, it also opens them up to personal financial liability if they’re successfully sued for malpractice.

In some cases, doctors who work for hospitals aren’t employed by them and are instead considered independent contractors. This is common for doctors who may work at hospitals only as needed or when called in for certain cases. These doctors aren’t covered under the hospitals’ medical malpractice insurance policies and must purchase their own.

Don’t Let Your Doctor’s Insurance Status Affect Your Decision to File a Claim

Many people have good relationships with their doctors that may go back years, even decades. They may know each other’s families and life stories. The idea of suing your doctor for malpractice and potentially harming them and their loved ones financially can be distressing.

However, medical malpractice victims typically incur huge costs themselves. In many cases, their existing injuries and illnesses may worsen due to ineffectual treatment, and they may develop new injuries and illnesses due to the malpractice. That means more medical bills, pain and suffering, and time away from work that could and should have been avoided.

If this happened to you, filing a medical malpractice claim is often the best way to get the money you and your loved ones need to tackle your financial worries and start moving forward with your lives.

We’re Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyers, and We’re Ready to Help

Making the tough decision to sue your doctor, surgeon, specialist, or other healthcare provider for medical malpractice isn’t easy. It’s also only the first step towards getting compensation.

Hospitals, healthcare facilities, and malpractice insurers are ready to dig their heels in and fight when they’re on the hook for malpractice claims, making these lawsuits an uphill battle for most victims.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys have decades of experience, knowledge, and success in handling these difficult claims. We aren’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with some of the biggest healthcare facilities and insurers in the country if it means getting compensation for our clients.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We understand what you’re going through, and we want to help.

Originally published March 21, 2022.

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