Do Doctors in Georgia Have to Have Malpractice Insurance?
A common misperception is that all doctors in Georgia have malpractice insurance. This leads many people to think that, if a doctor makes a mistake and injures them, there will be a source of insurance to recover damages. Unfortunately, Georgia law does not require that doctors carry malpractice insurance. There is also not a federal requirement that doctors have insurance.
Some states do require that doctors carry malpractice insurance. Those states are Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. As of 2017, these states required that doctors carry a minimum amount of professional liability insurance.
Although Georgia requires that people driving on the highway have a minimum level of liability insurance, doctors are not required to carry any insurance at all. This means that the person driving next to you on I-285 in Atlanta is required to have insurance, but a doctor who operates on your brain does not need medical malpractice insurance.
It is important to point out doctors are not the only professionals that are not required to carry insurance in Georgia. Attorneys, for example, are not required to carry malpractice insurance either.
Before undergoing a medical procedure or seeking treatment with a Georgia doctor, you may want to ask whether your doctor carries malpractice insurance. Georgia law gives patients “the right to inquire as to whether the physician carries medical malpractice insurance.” See O.C.G.A. § 43-34A-5. If this information is requested by the patient, “the physician or other authorized personnel shall give such information freely and without reservation or evasion.” O.C.G.A. § 43-34A-5.
What If A Doctor Who Does Not Have Insurance Commits Malpractice?
Sometimes the person or company who negligently causes an injury does not have any insurance at all, or if they do have insurance, it is not enough to cover the injured person’s damages. This can happen in a variety of situations, including cases involving medical malpractice.
A doctor may not have malpractice insurance for a particular claim for a number of reasons. For one, the doctor may have chosen not to purchase insurance. This is called “going bare.” On the other hand, a doctor may have purchased insurance but the insurance may not apply to a particular type of claim due to an exclusion. Common medical malpractice exclusions include intentional acts and sexual misconduct.
If a doctor does not have insurance can you still bring a malpractice claim? Yes, you can. However, it can be difficult to collect money for your damages. Dealing with an uninsured negligent defendant in any type of case can present challenges. It is often easier to get claims settled when there is an insurance company involved. It is also easier to know how much money is available to cover a claim when insurance is involved because the amount of insurance is usually known. If a judgment is obtained against a negligent doctor, it can be difficult to collect the damages if there is no insurance.
When a doctor does not have any insurance, it may be more difficult to find a medical malpractice attorney for your case. Medical malpractice claims are very difficult, expensive, and risky. Without some level of certainty that there will be a source of money to pay for the malpractice victim’s damages, many lawyers may choose not to pursue the claim.
A common misperception is that doctors are all wealthy and have a lot of money sitting around to pay for damages. This is not necessarily true. If a doctor has chosen not to buy insurance, this may be an indication that they do not have a lot of resources and may not be very good doctors. In our experience, we have found that the vast majority of good doctors do carry insurance. Also, even doctors who earn a lot of money may not have a lot of money or assets that can be used to pay a malpractice judgment.
A Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
If you have been injured by a negligent doctor, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. There are strict time limits that govern the filing of medical malpractice claims. It is also important to start working with a medical malpractice attorney who can start building your case to ensure it is successful. The medical malpractice attorneys at The Champion Firm, P.C., have experience representing injured patients in a variety of medical malpractice cases.
Call us today if you want to set up a free consultation to find out whether you have a medical malpractice claim.