Medical Malpractice Insurance Coverage Basics

June 14, 2022

Most medical professionals carry some type of professional liability insurance, commonly referred to as medical malpractice insurance. Not only does this include doctors or surgeons, but also optometrists, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, and many other health care professionals. This type of insurance is crucial to help these individuals pay for any claims made against them if they make a mistake in some way and harm a patient. Here, our Martinsburg medical malpractice lawyers want to discuss the medical malpractice insurance coverage basics and touch on how this could affect your malpractice claim against a medical professional.

What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?

Information presented by Johns Hopkins University researchers states that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the country and that hundreds of thousands of individuals sustain injuries as a result of medical negligence each year. Even though the vast majority of medical professionals perform their jobs adequately, and most medical procedures occur without any complications, there are still times when mistakes occur, and patients sustain injuries or illnesses as a result of the errors.

That is why medical providers obtain malpractice insurance. Medical professional liability insurance seeks to protect doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other health care professionals in the event a mistake is made and someone suffers as a result. This type of insurance protects these professionals from liability if negligence causes the injury, medical expenses, or property damage.
In addition to paying expenses for injuries, expenses, and damage, this type of insurance will also protect the medical provider from the cost of defending any lawsuits related to medical malpractice claims.

There are two basic types of medical malpractice insurance available:

  1. Claims-made: This type of policy will only provide coverage if the insurance policy was in effect when the incident took place and when the medical malpractice lawsuit is filed. Typically, this means that the coverage must extend for a decent amount of time in order to provide adequate protection to the medical professional because not all medical malpractice claims are filed from the moment the incident occurs. Malpractice victims often have an extended period of time to file a claim, sometimes up to 10 years or more after an incident occurs.
  2. Occurrence-made: This type of policy differs from claims made insurance because it will cover any claim for events that took place during the time when the coverage was applied to the health care professional, even if the policy itself has lapsed (often because the medical professional has retired or left the field).

Why This Matters?

If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury or illness caused by the negligent actions of a medical professional in West Virginia, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and recover compensation for your losses. When you file a lawsuit, chances are you will be filing a claim against the medical professional, who will then turn to their insurance policy to provide coverage for the claim if it is valid.

Your injury attorney will examine what type of insurance policy the medical professional has or had and work diligently to recover maximum compensation on your behalf. In the event the policy has lapsed and is no longer applicable for the claim, there may be other avenues for recovering compensation, including the medical professional’s personal assets or the insurance policy of their employer at the time the incident occurred.


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