Malpractice insurance is purchased by professionals, most often medical professionals, to financially cover them in the event they are sued for malpractice. Malpractice is the act of causing damage or injury to a person or persons as a result of negligently performing a professional duty or intentional wrongdoing. Doctors, surgeons, nurses, and most other medical professionals are sometimes required to purchase malpractice insurance, also called personal liability insurance, before becoming employed by a facility or opening a private practice. Though the medical field is the most common market for this type of insurance, other fields may require it as well.
Designed primarily to provide medical professionals protection from lawsuits, there are other personal coverages provided with most malpractice insurance policies. A policy will cover the insured up to values of several million dollars. However, the amount of necessary coverage varies by location, as different statutes apply to malpractice law in different areas.
When most people think of malpractice insurance, they think of doctors, especially surgeons and obstetricians, who are most frequently sued by patients. Though such doctors may have higher insurance premiums than others, they aren’t the only ones who benefit from coverage. Dentists, nurses, therapists, optometrists, and even diagnostic laboratories may be required to carry this insurance, depending on where they work. Schools that provide education in the medical field with training involving hands-on clinicals must also carry it to cover their faculty and students.
Malpractice insurance is often one of the most expensive types of insurance policies that can be purchased. Premiums are adjusted for the type of medicine practiced, the type and amount of coverage needed, and whether the insurance covers an individual or a group. Other circumstances that affect the premiums of include the location of the practice and the laws that prevail there. Though the majority of doctors and medical professionals never need to use their insurance, it is a necessary safety net and is required by law in many locations.