When you’re in medical school, you already have a ton to worry about. In addition to the standard worries of graduate school—signing a lease on a decent apartment, furnishing that apartment with at least a bed, maybe a card table to use for takeout, attending orientations that seem to never end—you also have to think about what area of medicine you want to pursue, and how you’ll deal with night-long exam crunches and stomach-twisting encounters with your first cadavers.
Medical school can be a lot to take in, especially early in your 20s. One thing you don’t want to overlook in all the chaos is the need to have proper insurance coverage—not only insurance for your own health but also malpractice insurance. Though you likely won’t need insurance until you leave campus, once you start getting your (gloved) hands dirty, malpractice insurance for students is a necessity. While it is not hugely common, students have been named in medical lawsuits in the past. According to the Cunningham Group, the National Practitioner Databank noted 1,530 malpractice reports that named medical students from 1990 to 2004.
It is usually the case that students will be covered under a policy established by others. Additionally, there are standards of “vicarious liability” that will apply in many of the circumstances you find yourself in. But there are some situations in which the responsibility for insuring yourself might be in play.
According to the Student Doctor Network, “As of 2014, in most states, liability for medical malpractice does extend to medical students at an important phase in their medical education, when they are getting hands-on clinical experience for the first time.” Once a student enters the phase where he or she is involved in day-to-day practice, that student is vulnerable to the possibility of a malpractice suit. Whether this takes the form of an externship, or a simple rotation, as soon as you move from the classroom to the field, you need to start making sure you are properly covered. As mentioned before, often medical schools and/or healthcare systems will have student malpractice insurance. However, this is not always the case: be sure to ask both your school administrators and the supervisors of your rotations or externships if you are covered under their policy. Because you are vulnerable to malpractice claims, you need to make sure that somebody has you covered.
Another reason it’s important to start thinking about malpractice insurance while you’re in school is that, once you’ve graduated and moved on to your residency, you’ll have some experience with the options available to you. There are several things to consider when seeking out malpractice coverage. How much coverage is necessary in your state? How much is necessary for your particular type of practice? What companies offer the rates that best fit your needs? If you are taking these things into consideration now, these decisions will be much easier down the road.
Don’t wait for insurance questions to bombard you during exam time. Contact eQuote today for a free quote on student malpractice insurance!