What kind of accidents does nursing malpractice insurance cover?

If you are a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner, or even a nursing student, you need nursing malpractice insurance so that you are protected against lawsuits, and being held responsible for any number of real or perceived actions.

Even though your employer has hospital professional liability insurance, this type of policy protects the hospital from the mistakes made by their employees. This means that the hospital policy is looking out for the hospital, not you.

Another solid reason to obtain malpractice insurance for yourself is that you are likely to run into a situation eventually where you are just trying to help someone outside of where you work.

In doing so you are exposing yourself to the possibility of being sued; yes even when you are administering aid. Let’s investigate further into the topic of the different types of nursing malpractice insurance available, and what it covers.

Two Types of Malpractice Policies

There are two different ways that malpractice insurance policies are written and it is important to know which type they have. In either case, nursing malpractice insurance is a more specialized form of professional liability insurance.

Occurrence Based

The type of insurance we will look at first is occurrence-based policies. With an occurrence-based policy, you are covered for a period of time specified in your contract. For example, if you were covered in 2020-2022 a claim that is filed in those years will be covered. The patient fell out of bed and was injured when no bed rail was raised in 2021 making it under the coverage period. Also covered will be a claim filed by another patient in 2023 as long as it is related to an occurrence that actually happened in 2020-2022, or the original time period that the coverage was in force. There are limits on the number of claims, but that number resets with the new coverage period.

Claims Based

The other type of nursing malpractice insurance available is a claims-based policy. On a claims-based nursing malpractice insurance the policy only protects you when the treatment happens and the claim is made during the same time period. The nurse accidentally gave the patient the wrong pill during the period the malpractice insurance was in force, and it was covered. Understanding the limits on this type of policy is very important and typically this coverage is more expensive in the beginning, but will eventually decrease as the policy matures.

Also, this type of policy will limit the number of claims that will be covered with a set number available to you.  Even if the claim against you is dismissed, the claim will still count in the number of claims filed. This number does not reset as it does with the occurrence-based policy.

Nurse Practitioners

There is a big difference between Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners. Nurse Practitioners operate akin to doctors in that they make diagnoses and can write prescriptions. Being that they are functioning in the position more like a doctor, they also need more malpractice coverage, more like a doctor versus a nurse. Nurse Practitioner malpractice insurance is available and you can find it easily with most malpractice insurance companies.

International Coverage

When you are working outside of the United States your malpractice insurance policy will not cover your services provided in a foreign country. This means that if you are performing charity work in a foreign country, you will need international malpractice insurance for nurses. Any place outside of the US, even for telemedicine, is considered foreign and will need international coverage to protect you.

Malpractice For Nursing Students

Malpractice for nursing students is an excellent policy for coverage when you are learning your trade and begin performing live procedures. This type of coverage considers that you are just beginning and is generally very affordable. These policies cover not only your personal lawyer separate from the hospital’s defense in the event of a lawsuit but also cover your pay for missed work to attend legal proceedings. This type of policy also covers electronic data and privacy issues.

The Bottom Line

All states in the US require that you have some form of malpractice insurance, be it provided by the employer that you work for, or a policy that you obtain yourself. There are premiums available starting at a very low cost. Insurance is worth every penny spent as there is a more than likely chance that at some point you will be involved in a malpractice claim at some point in your career. Explore your coverage options by looking for nursing malpractice insurance online near you today.