According to the Insurance Information Institute, a majority of doctors in the US will find themselves on the wrong end of at least one medical malpractice liability lawsuit during the course of their career. That is why medical malpractice insurance is so important for doctors everywhere, including Alabama.
In fact, between 2009 and 2018, insurance companies paid out $273,560,000 in malpractice claims filed by Alabama’s medical professionals.
If you are looking for a reliable and reasonably priced medical malpractice insurance policy, independent insurance agents in Alabama can help. These experienced professionals can help you obtain and compare customized quotes from a variety of insurance carriers. Find an insurance agent near you to get started.
What Is Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Medical malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance that is designed specifically to cover physicians and other medical professionals if they are sued for causing a patient to experience an injury, poor health, or death.
Medical malpractice insurance can benefit:
- Psychologists, therapists, and counselors
If you are looking for a good medical malpractice policy, a local independent insurance agent can help.
Is Medical Malpractice Insurance Required in Alabama?
The state of Alabama does not require physicians to carry medical malpractice. However, most hospitals and medical facilities require their staff to carry this coverage.
Regardless of whether you are required to have it, medical malpractice can prove extremely beneficial. Malpractice lawsuits can happen to anyone in the medical profession and frequently result in high costs to the accused, even if the courts ultimately rule in their favor.
In a 2017 survey of 4,000 physicians, 58% of those who had been sued stated that they were “very surprised” by the lawsuit, and 89% said they believed that the lawsuits brought against them were without merit.
How Much Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cost in Alabama?
In 1987 the Alabama state legislature instituted a cap on non-economic damages in medical liability cases and on total damages for wrongful death cases. This has resulted in lower-than-average prices for medical malpractice insurance in this state.
Rates for coverage are based primarily on your medical specialty, your years practicing in that specialty, and your claims history. They can vary significantly.
In Alabama, low-risk medical specialists such as non-surgical ophthalmologists and psychiatrists may pay between $3,500 and $6,600 a year. More high-risk professionals such as obstetricians and general surgeons can pay as much as $25,000 to $41,000 a year.
To find out how much a policy will cost you, contact a local independent insurance agent who can provide you with a selection of customized quotes from a few competing providers.
What Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cover?
Medical malpractice lawsuits can arise if it is believed that a medical professional breached established medical protocol in such a way as to inflict physical or emotional harm on others.
If you are sued in a medical malpractice lawsuit, your insurance can cover court costs, legal fees, arbitration costs, settlements, and court-awarded judgments, including punitive and compensatory damages.
Examples of common medical malpractice liability lawsuits include accusations of:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Surgical errors
- Medication errors
- Treatment errors
- Obstetrical errors
- Failure to adequately monitor or follow up with patients
- Inadequate record keeping
- Miscommunication or lack of communication
Talk to your insurance agent to learn more about what your medical malpractice insurance policy will cover.
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What Doesn't Medical Malpractice Insurance Cover?
Your medical malpractice insurance will not cover against:
- Sexual misconduct
- Criminal acts
- Inappropriate alteration of medical records
Your claim may also be denied if it is discovered that you misrepresented facts when you applied for your policy.
Talk to a local independent agent to learn more about the limitations of medical malpractice insurance.
What Is Tail Coverage Medical Malpractice Insurance?
To understand tail coverage, you must first be aware that there are two types of medical malpractice insurance: claims-made policies and occurrence-made policies.
In a claims-made medical malpractice policy, coverage applies for claims filed from the time the policy goes into effect until it is canceled or expires. However, medical professionals can opt to purchase tail and or nose coverage when they are buying their policies.
- Medical malpractice tail coverage is designed to protect the insured against incidents that occurred while the policy was still in effect, but claims were not filed by the claimant until after the policy ended.
- Medical malpractice nose coverage is designed to cover against incidents that occurred before the policy was in effect, but claims were filed after the policy start date.
These policies protect the insured against claims for incidents that occurred while the policy was in effect, even if the policy has been canceled or expired prior to the claim being filed.
If you have an occurrence-based policy, tail coverage isn't necessary.
Talk to a local independent agent to learn more about these types of coverage.
Does Umbrella Insurance Cover Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Umbrella insurance does not cover professional liabilities like medical malpractice. Fortunately, most malpractice insurance providers offer very high coverage limits, so this should not be a problem.
This is not to say that doctors can't benefit from having an umbrella insurance policy, especially once your student loans are paid off and you are starting to accrue wealth. Remember, the more you have to lose, the more coverage you need.
If you are responsible for a serious car accident or someone is seriously injured in your home during a party, you might find yourself looking at a hefty lawsuit. In that case, you can rely on an umbrella policy to cover any costs that go beyond what your car or home insurance will cover.
How to Choose the Right Medical Malpractice Insurance Policy
If you are looking for the best and most affordable medical malpractice insurance in Alabama, look no further than a local independent agent. These agents work for you, not for a particular insurance company, so they are free to shop around to find you the policy that offers the coverage you need at the most competitive price.
There are more than 330 independent agents in Alabama. Discover how easy it can be to find an ideal medical malpractice policy by arranging a one-on-one consultation with an insurance agent near you.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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