How To Protect Yourself From Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Jenny Handwerk |

How To Protect Yourself From Medical Malpractice Lawsuits 

Medical malpractice defense provides a slew of obstacles for healthcare practitioners. In this detailed blog article, we will look at the most critical components of medical malpractice asset protection legal techniques and best practices that can assist healthcare professionals.

Experts believe that preparing for the possibility of being sued is the most effective method to avoid a malpractice lawsuit. The more prepared a physician is, the greater the likelihood of a favorable outcome. 

Although no physician can control all potential risks that lead to malpractice lawsuits, effective practices include acquiring the best insurance policy, implementing patient communication mechanisms, and responding appropriately if a case is filed.

Understanding Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice usually happens when a healthcare provider fails to offer proper treatment, take necessary action, or provide inferior care, resulting in harm, injury, or death to a patient.

Malpractice or neglect typically entails a medical error. This could include diagnosis, drug dosing, health management, therapy, or aftercare.

Medical malpractice legislation allows individuals to seek compensation for any injury caused by substandard care.

Tips for Malpractice Protection

1. Deliberate Communication 

Patient satisfaction has a significant impact on malpractice claims. People recall how they were treated, whether positively or negatively. This involves what you say and your body language when you interact with them while delivering care.

Turning away or looking at your watch while they're speaking will make them feel pressured. Folding your arms in front of your chest makes you appear unapproachable. These minor, often unintentional gestures might make your patients feel irrelevant.

To display interest, be as communicative as possible, respond courteously to their queries, and engage in follow-up dialogue wherever possible. Show that you care by developing a positive doctor-patient relationship that will help you prevent medical malpractice accusations.

2. Educate patients about the procedure

One strategy to avoid malpractice claims concerning consent is to educate patients about the process. This entails giving them all the information required to make an informed decision about the procedure. This section discusses the dangers, benefits, and alternatives to the surgery. By teaching patients about the treatment, you may guarantee that they understand what they agree to, making them less likely to file a claim against you.

3. Use consent forms

Using consent forms is another technique to defend oneself from consent-related malpractice claims. A consent form is a legally binding document that describes the risks, benefits, and alternatives to the surgery. It also includes a spot where patients can sign to indicate that they comprehend the material and agree to the surgery. Using permission papers ensures that the patient understands what they are agreeing to and has given their consent in writing.

4. Get Everything in Writing 

Another strategy to avoid a claim is to keep detailed records before, during, and after the treatment period. Make sure to include completed examinations, diagnoses, and follow-up visits. Proper documentation provides a strong defense if you ever must go to court.

It also makes it easier for your medical malpractice insurance company to settle a claim if you demonstrate that the patient was aware of and accepted your service—consent is not negotiable. 

5. Obtain a witness

Obtaining a witness during the consent procedure is another strategy to defend yourself from consent-related malpractice claims. A witness is a third party who can confirm that the patient was informed about and consented to the procedure. This could be a nurse, another healthcare professional, or a family member. By having a witness, you may verify that the patient was informed and consented to the surgery, making it less likely that they will file a claim against you.

How To Protect Your Assets From Malpractice Claims 

Invest in Malpractice Insurance

Malpractice insurance is integral to every professional's job when providing services to clients. It is insurance that protects professionals from financial losses caused by lawsuits filed against them based on claimed malpractice or professional carelessness. Malpractice insurance is especially crucial for professionals in disciplines like medicine, law, accounting, and engineering, where a single error or oversight can seriously impact customers.

Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies 

Another typical asset protection strategy is transferring assets to a limited partnership or limited liability business. Under this strategy, the property's owner contributes to a limited partnership in which they serve as the general partner, and other family members (including the transferor) are named limited partners. As the general partner, the transferor has fiduciary control over the assets for the benefit of all partners. At the same time, the assets are generally protected from the claims of any individual partner's creditors because they are owned by the corporation rather than the particular partner.

The Offshore Asset Protection Trust 

Where the liability risk requires more protection (at an increased expense and complexity), and the physician wishes to keep an interest in the property, the partnership strategy can be combined with an offshore asset protection trust. As the name implies, such a trust uses the laws of a few select foreign governments. These governments have enacted legislation to encourage trust business by safeguarding the trust fund from creditor claims, even if the individual who founded the trust is also a beneficiary.

Bottom Line

Navigating the complicated environment of medical malpractice defense necessitates a full awareness of the legal issues, practical methods, and best practices for overcoming potential obstacles. Healthcare providers who have read this comprehensive handbook will be better prepared to manage the complexities of medical malpractice lawsuits and protect their professional reputations. If you need help navigating this complex information, feel free to give us a call.