Doctors used to be revered during earlier times in India. Even today, despite changing times, the importance that society gives to a doctor can’t be ignored. However, even doctors are human, and they can commit errors and mistakes. With the evolution of laws, such negligence and error of judgments can be costly.
As a professional, it is not your motive to hurt your patients physically or financially. But situations may arrive where a major decision has to be taken quickly and may lead to losses for the patient. As a medical practitioner, this makes you liable for the entire loss, or some part of the loss suffered by the patient.
Again as a professional, your practice should not be affected by one or two failures of your decisions. A professional indemnity insurance for doctors covers various types of medical practitioners and medical establishments from such setbacks, which usually have a financial impact for the doctor as well.
Why do doctors need Professional Indemnity Insurance?
According to a recently published study, legal proceedings alleging negligence have seen a rise of 400% in the Supreme Court. Although, according to reports, only about 10- 15% of the cases have seen doctors being found guilty, the remaining 85% medicos nonetheless had to incur the cost of defending themselves.
Indemnity insurance for doctors takes care of such expenses, without denting your pocket. Also, it is important to understand that the insurance will not cover the costs if an insured doctor is found guilty of criminal misconduct, or deliberate negligence.
Uncertain Penalty Amounts
There is no formula to estimate appropriate penalty in case a patient loses a limb or an organ. Thus the cost doctors can be sued for, can be extremely exorbitant at times. Doctors need special insurance so that they can safeguard themselves financially from such penalties and legal costs when they are sued by affected patients.
Other Medical Professionals
Many insurance providers provide protection schemes to doctors to protect them in their practice. For a healthcare establishment, indemnity insurance for medical staff is also necessary. Liability Insurance for other professionals is also available. A hospital can also insure itself and its practitioners, staff, nurses, etc. under an umbrella policy.
Conditions for Indemnification
In any case, the doctor’s professional indemnity insurance scheme traditionally requires following conditions to be fulfilled to indemnify the loss to the doctor:
- The loss to victim is not an outcome of willful neglect
- The loss is due to unplanned errors and omissions by the doctor
- Legal liability can arise because of bodily injury or death caused by breach of professional duty by:
- The insured doctor
- The support staff (in case of hospitals if insured)
- Other officials or instruments involved in the medical activity if covered
- Defense costs, fees and expenses incurred in India in accordance with Indian Law
What to Expect from Doctor’s Professional Indemnity?
The professional indemnity insurance for doctors offers wide coverage for the claims made by the patients for negligence or wrong treatment or accidents are mostly covered. It also offers to cover the costs of litigation, court fees, and settlements.
- Doesn’t cover criminal acts, duplicity, penalties or punitive damages.
- Insolvency of the insured
- Loss of goodwill, private damages is not covered
Doctors are life savers but even a life saver can sometimes commit a mistake which can affect anybody’s life, and reason can be completely unintentional. Anybody can make mistakes, but a doctor’s mistake can cause a lot of repercussions. While treating, a physician’s motive is always to make sure that the patient gets better and he is paid to do that – but errors can happen anywhere.