You understand as a healthcare professional that there is a great deal of risk associated with the job. It doesn’t matter if you’re a nurse, physician or surgeon, in the healthcare field you have someone’s life in your hands. That is why you purchased some type of professional liability insurance in case you’re accused of medical malpractice. However, what happens if your insurance company denies your claim altogether?

If your malpractice insurance has denied your valid claim, then it’s time to contact an experienced insurance attorney today. There’s no reason you should be denied coverage when you’ve paid your premiums on time. You can instead hire an experienced insurance lawyer to prove your insurance company’s denial of your claim was in bad faith.

Professional Liability Attorney for Malpractice in Tampa, FL

You need liability coverage if a malpractice claim is filed against you. Don’t allow your insurance company to deny you the protection you deserve. Contact an experienced insurance law attorney with Germain Law Group, P.A. today to uncover your options.

Michael B. Germain is a skilled attorney with years of practice under his belt. Attorney Germain doesn’t hesitate to go up against big-shot insurance companies. He can assess your policy and spot any suspicious behavior by your insurer. Call (813) 835-8888 today and set up a free consultation.

Germain Law Group, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Hillsborough County area including Pasco County, Pinellas County, Polk County and Hernando County.

Overview of Malpractice Liability Insurance in Florida

The Rise of Medical Errors in the United States

As a healthcare professional, you take great care to ensure your patients are safe from harm. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean a medical error won’t happen despite your efforts. The United States has discovered a tremendous surge in medical malpractice over the last eight years. According to a study by John Hopkins University, there were more than 250,000 deaths due to medical mistakes in 2018.

The statistics would mean that 9.5 percent of all deaths in the U.S. each year are due to medical errors. This alarming number has caused the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to reassign medical malpractice as the third leading cause of death in the United States. It now is behind heart disease which kills approximately 600,000 people annually and cancer which is the cause of nearly 580,000 deaths per year.

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Types of Medical Malpractice Insurance

The type and specifics of your coverage depends on your policy. Professional liability for malpractice can take on several forms including:

  • Individual or group policies purchases from a private insurance company;
  • Individual or group policies through a medical risk retention group (RRPG), which is a mutual organization of medical professionals that provide liability insurance; or
  • Your employer provides you coverage, such as a hospital

Most commercial general liability (CGL) insurers provide either claims-made or occurrence policies. CGL policies with an “occurrence trigger,” are only in effect when an alleged injury or property damage occurred, and the policy covers that event. It doesn’t matter when the claim is filed either, as long as it’s included in your policy. For example, suppose you prescribe someone the wrong dosage of medication, but they don’t discover the negative side effects years later. Your initial insurance company will still provide coverage even if you’ve switched insurers during that time.

Policies may also be written on a “claims made” basis, which means the current liability insurer is only responsible for claims made during the policy period. The claim will only be covered if the policy was in still force while it was filed. Essentially, once the policy has lapsed you will no longer have any coverage. Most medical malpractice insurance policies are claims-made rather than triggered by an occurrence.

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What Do I Do If My Malpractice Insurance Denied My Claim?

Insurers who deny their policyholders coverage for viable claims could be held responsible. If you believe your insurance company is acting deceptively, then you may be able to file a claim against them for acting in bad faith. An insurance company acts in bad faith if they refuse to uphold their express or implied duties to their policyholders.

There are various ways an insurance company could act in bad faith. Using dishonest practices such as intentionally avoiding phone calls or delaying meetings could be considered in bad faith. This also includes using confusing verbiage to trick a policyholder into believing they aren’t covered. Your insurance company may use some of these and other tactics to exhaust your attempts to collect coverage.

You can prove to the court your insurer is acting in bad faith by hiring legal representation. An experienced insurance claims lawyer can assess the situation and see if your claim was valid. They can then start collecting evidence as to why your claim was viable and how your insurer’s denial of it was in bad faith. This can be done by deposing experts such as medical professionals, journalists and public adjusters. They can also utilize their knowledge in insurance law to prove why the initial claim was included in your policy.

If you’re able to sway the court, then your insurer will be obligated to pay for any losses you’ve experienced. This can include judgement costs from the claim filed against you and emotional losses from the situation such as mental anguish. Listed below are some losses you may recover if you file a bad faith claim against your insurer.

  • Judgement costs from prior claim;
  • Attorney’s fees;
  • Court costs;
  • Interest accumulated from prior settlement;
  • Emotional distress; and
  • Loss of consortium

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Additional Resources

Understanding Medical Malpractice – Visit the official website of the Insurance Information Institute (III), a non-profit and non-partisan organization that’s dedicated to spread unbiased information about insurance. Access their site to learn about medical malpractice and other types of professional liability insurance.

Florida’s Bad Faith Laws – Visit the official website for Online Sunshine, a collection of Florida’s state laws and legislation. Access the site to learn what the court considers when determining a bad faith action, how long an insurer must respond and more.

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Insurance Lawyer for Medical Malpractice in Hillsborough County, FL

Have you been accused of medical malpractice, but your insurance company refuses to cover you? It’s imperative you seek an experienced insurance law attorney immediately. You may be able to file a bad faith claim and receive compensation for losses you’ve experienced. Contact Germain Law Group, P.A. now to discover your options.

Michael B. Germain can provide effective and efficient representation for you. He has the passion and knowledge you need to fight against your insurance company. Contact him now at (813) 835-8888 to set up a free consultation. Germain Law Group, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Tampa area including Brandon, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Clearwater.

This article was last updated on June 21, 2019.