According to a John Hopkins Research Center study, medical malpractice or errors is the third-leading cause of death in the United Deaths. Medical malpractice happens when a healthcare worker fails to maintain the standard of care when treating patients. Healthcare workers are a generic term for doctors, nurses, nursing home staff, etc. But for this article, our focus is on doctors (physicians).
When a person goes from being a patient to a medical malpractice victim, Maryland law allows them to bring a malpractice claim or lawsuit against the at-fault physician. Generally, doctors take out malpractice insurance for instances like this. But is it compulsory for them to have one, and what option do you have if they don’t?
Our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers will attempt to provide answers to this all-important. In addition, if you are a victim of a medical error, our lawyers will provide you with excellent legal advice and representation.
Are You Required to Have Malpractice Insurance as a Maryland Physician?
Unlike other states in the U.S., Maryland law does not mandate physicians to carry medical insurance. However, even if the state does not have a carrying requirement for malpractice coverage, doctors might still need to get insurance in some situations. One of such instances is if the medical facility mandates doctors to have coverage.
Most healthcare facilities make this requirement compulsory for physicians with visiting privileges. Another instance is if a health insurance plan requires the physician to have malpractice coverage. Note that the physician can choose not to buy a policy, leaving themselves open to medical malpractice lawsuits.
Failing to have insurance does not only affect a physician but a victim also. This is because rather than getting paid by the physician’s insurance carrier in the event of an injury, the victim would have to depend on the financial buoyancy of the doctor to get paid. It means that if the doctor has the means to pay, you’ll get compensation; if they don’t, you might not get paid.
However, as of 1 October 2017, MD Code, Health Occupations, section 14-508, makes it compulsory for doctors to inform their patients of a lack of insurance coverage. The notification must be in writing and done at the time of the patient’s first visit. Alternatively, the doctor must give the notification before obtaining consent for any surgical procedure.
Furthermore, the law requires the physician to conspicuously post the lack of insurance at their place of practice. The physician would be said to have acted in bad faith if they fail to notify you of their lack of coverage. This lack of information would work in your interest when filing a lawsuit against the doctor.
What Happens When a Physician Lacks Malpractice Insurance?
Often, when doctors do not have medical malpractice coverage, you have two options. One would be to file a personal injury lawsuit against the physician. At the trial, you will establish the following:
- The existence of a doctor-patient relationship
- That the doctor failed to exercise reasonable care, thereby violating the duty of care owed to you
- That the physician’s error caused you to suffer an injury
- The injury led to damages
Once you can establish all these and win the lawsuit, the court would award you a judgment sum. The physician would then pay the amount out-of-pocket, meaning from their fund. As mentioned earlier, it is crucial that the doctor has the finances to cover the amount awarded; else, you’ll get nothing.
The second option you have when a doctor lacks malpractice insurance is filing a claim against the hospital. In Maryland, the law allows medical error victims to demand compensation from the hospital where the physician works. You should note that hospitals have a certain duty of care to patients.
The law expects healthcare facilities to uphold the highest standard of care and ensure they follow laid down procedures and policies. Hospitals must also ensure they employ qualified and certified doctors. If they fail to do so, they will be liable for any harm a physician causes a patient.
Consult Our Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today!
A medical malpractice claim or a lawsuit is one of the most technical aspects of personal injury cases. This is because a lot goes into proving that a physician failed to meet the required standard of care. To ensure you don’t come out at the losing end of a malpractice action, you should work with a Maryland malpractice attorney at Pinder Plotkin, LLC.
Our lawyers have experience handling malpractice claims and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. We can do the same for you irrespective of whether the physician has malpractice insurance or not. Contact us today for a free case review.