Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor or other healthcare professionals, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient. The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management.

To be considered as medical malpractice (territories may vary), the claim must have the following characteristics:

  • A violation of the standard of care
  • The injury resulted in significant damages
  • An injury was caused by the negligence

There are two basic types of malpractice policies, claims-occurrence or claims-made.

The majority of insurers will only write on a claims-made basis, where only the policy in effect at the time a claim is reported responds for the loss, regardless of when the negligence occurred. This period can occasionally be extended backwards with a “retroactive date” and coverage can also be extended forwards with an “extended reporting period”, however, this may affect an increase in premiums.

The other type of insurance is claims-occurrence, which will cover for any negligence that occurs within the policy period regardless of when a claim is brought against insurers.

Here are some examples of medical negligence that might lead to a lawsuit:

  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
  • Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
  • Poor follow-up or aftercare
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Failure to recognise symptoms
  • Surgical errors or wrong site surgery
  • Failure to order proper testing
  • Improper medication or dosage
  • Premature discharge
  • Disregarding or not taking appropriate patient history

For further information about our medical malpractice insurance give us a call +44 (0) 207 977 1490 or take a look at our Medical Malpractice Insurance for Individuals Brochure.