Healthcare professionals, along with businesses, are now the beneficiaries of broadscale protections that prevent certain types of COVID-19 infection lawsuits that would otherwise be permitted under existing legislation. Has this resulted in a decrease in doctor’s medical malpractice premiums? No, of course, it hasn’t. This is strange considering that patients may be prevented from filing lawsuits against any hospital impacted by COVID-19, which should, in theory, reduce the number of insurance payouts over the next several years.
Why isn’t malpractice insurance going down?
Malpractice insurance is not going down because, by and large, doctors and hospitals were not the ones facing COVID-19 lawsuits. Instead, it was nursing homes. While nursing homes employ doctors who have malpractice insurance and liability insurance for themselves as well, nursing homes contributed more than 50% of all COVID deaths, in many cases, because of failures related to basic sanitation requirements that any nursing home or hospital would be expected to meet or exceed. In other cases, the staff brought the virus into the nursing home and infected the patients, many of whom died as a result. One would expect that if these lawsuits were no longer allowed by law, the insurance requirements would be reduced alongside them.
But unfortunately, that hasn’t happened, nor is it likely to happen.
Fewer elective surgeries
One thing that COVID has done is prevent many elective surgeries from moving forward. This resulted in less volume in a major American industry. While many erroneously believe that COVID has been a cash cow for the healthcare industry, the fact is, the healthcare industry was one of the largest industries harmed by COVID. The loss of income in elective surgeries cost hospitals billions of dollars in income. Those surgeries have just recently begun to start again. But the doctors who weren’t performing surgeries over the 9 months of quarantine did not see any reductions to their premiums as those with car and home insurance did. Meanwhile, fewer elective surgeries mean fewer medical malpractice lawsuits.
Are there really more medical malpractice claims?
No. While there are more claims against nursing homes than in previous years, there have been fewer medical malpractice claims against hospitals, especially those in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and other states that moved quickly to place a moratorium on COVID lawsuits.
However, the nursing home lawsuits involved large swaths of residents losing their lives to poor infection-control protocols. In many states, legislation that protected hospitals also protected nursing homes. With so much protectionist legislation, it seems unlikely that the number of medical malpractice claims has increased. It’s more likely that these claims are related to incidences within individual nursing homes filed on behalf of several plaintiffs at once.
Talk to a Tampa medical malpractice attorney
If you’ve been injured due to medical negligence, call the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Palmer | Lopez today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.