rs2006

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Hi all,

Fourth year medical student here-- I live in a state which is in a "malpractice crisis" and have recently learned that many IM docs are currently practicing without malpractice insurance-- how does this work when you actually get sued-- do you have to have a strong financial base to cover your tail, or is it that you are immune to suits without insurance? Any thoughts?
 

inositide

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If anyone is practicing without malpractice insurance, some people have suggested that it would be wise to keep all of your assets in your wife's name or someone that you can trust. If a physician gets sued, and the physician doesnt have malpractice insurance and loses the argument, then you can imagine how financially devastating that could potentially be.
 

SmallTownGuy

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I heard of a surgeon that did this before. No, you are not immune to lawsuits, they can take you for everything you are worth (or have in your name). The aforementioned surgeon saved 20 grand or so every year until he had a little savings in place just for malpractice, in case he gets sued. He just rolled the dice that he would not be sued while saving the money, or so the legend goes. Eventually, he retired and spent the money.
 

inositide

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I don't know about that surgeon's philosophy because saving 20k a year would not amount to much in the face of the millions of dollars that serious surgery malpractice cases can cost.

However, there have been cases in the news where a group of docs in some state (perhaps Florida?) dropped their malpractice insurance and put all of their assets under their relatives' names with the hope that if they lose some malpractice they can simply report inability to pay as they have little assets to their name. Of course, if the laws of the state allow the physicians' net future income to be seized in order to pay the malpractice law suit money, then the plan would backfire. Also, if the spouse of the physician ever became disgruntled, the plan could also backfire.

I don't really know much about it except that there has been a lot of literature produced regarding this issue and you could easily dig it up with a little searchig.
 

SmallTownGuy

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I think his philosophy was that he was good and would never end up in a real lawsuit that would cost him millions. But, I did not personally know the guy and this is strictly rumor. It is probably BS, just thought it was funny.