I have several doctors who have been sued for malpractice and for other things. They didn’t have any malpractice or didn’t have any kind of insurance to cover the claim. That is kind of a disaster, but it does happen, especially if the doctor retires and doesn’t buy what’s called “the tail of the insurance”, which is usually a large expenditure that would cover him or her out into the future. It also happens sometimes when the doctor changes jobs and doesn’t want to pay the tail on the insurance, move to the other job, and unexpectedly gets sued.
What has to happen in that case is the doctor has to retain counsel to defend the doctor in these lawsuits. That means the doctor has to pay all the legal bills, all the expenses of experts, all the expenses of the depositions, and any other expenses that go forward of getting medical records and defending the case. This can be quite a large sum of money, especially if it’s a serious case. Not only that, of course, you may have to settle this case. If there is a settlement, it’s going to come out of the doctor’s pockets, which is a very unpleasant thing.
Sometimes, if there are several defendants, there are ways to go back and try to get the insurance company to at least pick up the defense of the doctor. That depends upon each individual case. I’d have to look at each individual case and look back when they bought the insurance, what company had it, what kind of insurance, who else is being sued, etc. It certainly is worth looking into anytime a lawsuit is brought against a doctor and he does not have any insurance.
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