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Importance of Professional Indemnity Insurance for Medical Professionals

by Soft2share.com

Over the recent years, India has seen a steep rise of 400% in the numbers of cases of litigation against doctors for professional negligence and malpractice in Supreme Court, according to a report published by the National Law University. While in most cases, court’s verdict was concluded in favour of medical practitioners, they still had to pursue the case in court.

It not only marks a dent financially but also affects a practitioner’s reputation. While the reputation is subject to public opinion, financial expenses borne on account of legal proceedings is covered by a professional indemnity insurance policy.

What is professional indemnity insurance?

Indemnity can be understood as monetary compensation or protection against financial loss suffered by an individual. Subsequently, professional indemnity insurance can be defined as a contract between a professional trained in a particular discipline and a financial institution.

In times when lawsuits against doctors are on the rise along with rising incidents of violence as well, professional indemnity insurance in India can prove particularly beneficial for practitioners, in monetary terms.

What is the importance of professional indemnity insurance?

A professional indemnity insurance policy provides monetary coverage on a broad spectrum of instances which can jeopardise the financial position of a medical practitioner on account of legal proceedings. Therefore, every doctor should know and care about a professional indemnity insurance policy.

The instances when an indemnity insurance policy can be of conclusive usage are discussed in the points below –

1. Lost documents

In case a patient litigates a medical practitioner on account of the loss of documents, he/she can claim compensation for the expenses related to any legal proceedings that follow, through an indemnity insurance policy.

2. Negligence

Given the busy schedule of most medical practitioners in the country with a low doctor-to-patient ratio, a case of negligence may come up unintentionally. If such negligence medically inconveniences a patient and that patient legally pursues such incidence, a doctor shall be reimbursed by the respective financial institution upon a claim. 

3. Improper treatment

A considerable percentage of lawsuits against medical practitioners are on account of improper treatment or lack thereof. In such case, although the respective practitioner will be reimbursed for his losses, the possibility of a similar occurrence remains. Henceforth, he/she should consider upscaling the clinic equipment. He/she can decide to facilitate a loan for doctors to facilitate such substantial expenses.

4. Confidentiality compromise

In most cases, a confidentiality clause exists between a doctor and patient, which prohibit the former from leaking any information concerning the patient that might be considered sensitive. If any breach is recorded on that account and the patient decides to pursue the matter legally in court, the doctor can claim compensation for legal charges if he/she has a professional indemnity insurance policy.

5. Fraudulence by employee

A medical practitioner can take legal actions against an employee in case such employee is noted to commit fraud or dishonesty in the course of duties. Legal costs which shall follow are covered under a professional indemnity insurance policy.

A doctor can also pursue a patient legally if he/she is found to slander in public tarnishing his/her reputation.

These are the several risks a doctor has if they do not have a professional indemnity insurance policy in place. In any case, it is also essential to be aware of the circumstances which are not considered under such insurance. These are –

  • Illegal activities: A doctor cannot claim compensation if he/she is held and proved accountable for illegal activity.
  • Dispute: Incidences of disputes between a medical practitioner and his /her employee which are pursued legally are not covered under an online indemnity insurance policy for doctors.
  • Intentional negligence: If a doctor intentionally neglects his/her duties or causes conscious harm to a patient and such incidence is legally pursued, any entailing charges will not be compensated under the policy.

Irrespective of whether someone is an in-demand doctor or a small scale medical practitioner, they should consider purchasing a professional indemnity insurance policy. He/she should also take into account how to choose the best professional indemnity insurance for doctors.

Regardless, a practitioner should always consider doing his/her job diligently and keep medical equipment updated to avoid lawsuits.

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