How Does Malpractice Insurance Work?

How Does Malpractice Insurance Work? 1

Elliott Kanter*Medical malpractice suits are brought before a court or settled outside of court when a plaintiff was injured due to a healthcare professional’s recklessness or negligence. The person they injured was under their care, and they had both a legal and moral obligation to ensure their patient would be protected. And they are to prevent serious injury and death.

Medical malpractice insurance protects doctors, nurses, and even medical students and medi-spa employees from allegations of negligence, bodily injury and wrongful death in the practice of providing healthcare. It is also known as professional liability insurance.

There are many different types of policies and providers that licensed healthcare providers can choose from when deciding which medical malpractice insurance to get. But the two main types are occurrence insurance and claims-made insurance. 


This type of insurance covers incidents that happened during the time the policy is held, regardless of when the claim was actually filed. What makes this a popular choice is that even if the policy is canceled and a patient comes back years later to file the claim, it will still be valid in court because the policy was held when the incident occurred.

Because of this, these are called “long-tail” policies because the policy remains for life. A physician can change hospitals or even states, for example, and the policy will still hold if a complaint arises from an incident while they were at the previous hospital. 

Claims-Made Insurance

This is coverage that needs to be reinstated annually, and it’s important for healthcare providers not to let this lapse. In fact, many of them add “tail” coverage to this kind of plan.

This plan provides coverage for claims that are filed while a policy is in place and for an incident that occurred while that policy is in place. It does not follow the individual healthcare provider when they move from job to job, or even from year to year. This can leave significant gaps in their coverage and can cost them and hospitals thousands of dollars. 


Medical malpractice insurance arose out of a crisis. Premiums were becoming too high for healthcare providers to have adequate coverage. Plus, they wanted to protect their investment on their years of education and even residency.

For many doctors, this is a lifelong dream that they have achieved. The federal government and each state set their own laws in regard to medical malpractice insurance, such as the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975, which is a law in California.

Why You Need A Medical Malpractice Attorney

As was mentioned earlier, there are state laws that one must know about medical malpractice cases in the state where you are suing. There may be complications to your case depending on the type of insurance the healthcare provider opted to use. 

An attorney is going to be able to advise you on what evidence you will need to provide, such as medical bills and medical records. If you have other records and statements prior to the medical treatment to show your condition before, that may be beneficial as well.

If there were any tests done then the results may be necessary for you to provide to your attorney if your blood levels indicate pharmaceutical errors.


Attorney Elliot Kanter, is an experienced and aggressive attorney who operates from San Diego handling both medical malpractice and criminal defence and personal injury law. He has over 40 years’ experience across his significant areas of legal expertise.