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Being Sued, Sharing the Burden

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Being Sued, Sharing the Burden

By CRICO Staff

Related to: Claims, Emergency Medicine, Primary Care, Nursing, Obstetrics, Other Specialties, Surgery

Despite your best efforts and the excellent care you give to your patients, you may someday be sued for malpractice. If or when you are named in a lawsuit, it could well knock the wind out of your professional sail. It can feel like a judgment on you as a physician, and perhaps even as a human being. Sharing the burden you’re carrying, with us and others, can make a difference in the outcome of your case.

We at CRICO have some insight into the impact of claims alleging medical malpractice. We’ve been defending and protecting Harvard medical community providers for twenty-eight years and have stood beside thousands of excellent physicians and nurses as they’ve faced patients’ accusations. One thing we’ve found is that it’s difficult to predict how any one person is going to handle the effects of those accusations on his or her personal and professional life.   There is no direct correlation between how someone reacts and whether or not there was a deviation from the standard of care.

No matter how hard we work to reduce the logistical and emotional impact on you, no matter how high our policy limits or success rates are, we’re clear that malpractice suits are very difficult blows that can linger on, even beyond resolution of your case. Some possible outcomes of malpractice claims are professional embarrassment, untoward publicity, credentialing ramifications, loss of licensure, reduced time with family and patients, and risks to personal assets.

You can count on us to choose excellent defense lawyers—with extensive experience and a track record of providing broad support—to be on your side during the lengthy period of time it can take for a claim to be resolved. You can also count on the claim representatives who handle your cases; they’ve generally been with CRICO or in the field an average of ten years or more. They’re important members of your defense team and are there to answer whatever questions you have.

While our performance record* clearly shows that we know how to effectively manage the resolution of claims, we think there may be more we can do to support you as you go through the process, more we can do to share the burden. We’re never going to stop learning about your needs and how we can meet them.

Our success on your behalf is due in large part to our relentless drive to innovate. That’s why we’re again assessing how well we sustain you through the very difficult process of a malpractice claim. 

We’re asking ourselves what we might do differently. We’re focusing anew on the claim representatives and the important role they play in coordinating your defense team. We’re looking at how we can improve our communication with you throughout the process. And we’ll be asking you for more critiques and suggestions, through individual conversations and surveys.

We’ll also address common concerns that providers express, whether or not they’ve ever been named in a suit. We’ll continue to strongly advise you not to talk about the details or the standard of care related to your case with anyone but your spouse or a member of your defense team (institutional risk manager, defense counsel, and claims professionals from CRICO), but we’ll also make it clear that sharing your feelings about the claim is not off limits at all. 

Communicating with loved ones and colleagues about the impact of being sued can make a difference in your well being, during what can be an arduous journey through a malpractice claim or suit. Expressing yourself, sharing the burden, can also make a difference in your case, since you may then be able to receive the support you need to be emotionally strong and confident—which can make the presentation of your case much more compelling, and the passage through this event in your life far easier.

We’re here to work on your behalf. Please let us know how we can be even better at it!

*Of the 1,131 cases that closed in 2010-2014, 622 (55%) were dropped, denied, or dismissed; 351 (31%) were settled; 136 (12%) had a defense verdict; and 23 (2%) had a plaintiff verdict.

 


June 1, 2007
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