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More information from NSO
Average cost of a medical malpractice claim: $201,916
NSO and CNA found in their 5-year claim study that the average cost of a medical malpractice claim against a registered nurse was $201,916, and the average cost of a medical malpractice claim against a licensed practical/vocational nurse was $199,771. To read the full report on nurses’ risk exposures, along with NSO and CNA’s risk management recommendations, please see their Nurse Professional Liability Claim Report.
Average legal defense costs for a medical malpractice claim: $36,424
A 5-year claim study by NSO and CNA found that the average legal expenses to defend a medical malpractice claim against a registered nurse was $36,424, and the average cost to defend a licensed practical/vocational nurse was $42,173.
Nurses working in adult medical/surgical care have highest frequency of malpractice claims
According to NSO and CNA’s 5-year claim study, the adult medical/surgical specialty represented the highest percentage of medical malpractice claims (36.1%), followed by gerontology/aging services (16.4%) and home health/hospice (12.4%). The nurse specialties representing the highest average severity in the claim report were neurology ($538,500), occupational/employee health ($413,990) and obstetrics ($397,064).
Treatment and care-related claims most common malpractice allegation against nurses
Allegations related to treatment and care, such as improper management of a medical complication or negligent performance of treatment, are the most common malpractice allegation against nurses (49.5%) followed by allegations related to assessment (15.7%) and monitoring (13.8%). Claims related to medication administration yielded the highest average indemnity payment ($213,005) followed by claims related to monitoring ($183,918) and treatment and care ($178,785). To read NSO and CNA’s 5-year claim study, along with risk management recommendations, please see their Nurse Professional Liability Claim Report.
Average cost to defend a license defense claim: $4,041
In many states, a medical malpractice claim against a nurse will result in a board of nursing inquiry. During a 5-year study period, NSO and CNA reported 1,127 license defense claims against registered nurses. These license defense claims resulted in a total payout of $4,554,539, with an average cost of $4,041 to defend nurses against allegations that could potentially have led to license revocation.
Professional conduct most common allegation leading to a license complaint
The most common allegations against registered nurses leading to a complaint filed with the board of nursing were related to professional conduct (24.2%) followed by allegations related to medication administration (18.6%) and treatment and care (18.5%). Allegations related to professional conduct also yielded the highest average expense among license defense claims ($4,545.69) followed by allegations related to abuse/violation of patients’ rights ($4,137.72) and documentation error/omission ($4,124.29).
Most license complaint claims against nurses result in no action by the board
Although no action was taken by their state board of nursing in 49.2% of the licensing complaints filed against nurses, a small number of decisions (4.9%) resulted in the end of their career. Other results included probation (10.8%), suspension (4.6%), a fine (1.7%) or continuing education (6.8%).
Do you know how to prepare for a deposition?
Among any healthcare provider’s worst nightmares is to receive a subpoena to give a deposition as part of medical malpractice lawsuit. What is a deposition? What should you do if you are subpoenaed? What should you do to prepare? To find out the answers to these and other questions, watch the video presentation, Preparing for a Deposition, by Michael Komoll, National Litigation Counsel for CNA the underwriter of the Nurses Service Organization Professional Liability Insurance Program.
Nurses should think twice before posting online
Social media is great way to connect with family and friends, but you need to be cautious. If a complaint is filed against your license for whatever reason, your state board of nursing will conduct its own investigation. That could include looking to see if you have a presence on social media. In the article Social Media Etiquette for Nursing Professionals, Nurses Service Organization goes over the do’s and don’ts of posting, tweeting, texting, or blogging.
Documentation on trial: Protect yourself from liability
When you document your nursing care in a patient's chart, you communicate with other members of the healthcare team and contribute to a legal document: the medical record. What you write reflects the quality of your care. Careless, inaccurate, or incomplete charting can hurt you in court. In a malpractice suit, good charting can be a primary defense. In the article Defensive documentation: learn how good charting can protect you from liability, Nurses Service Organization goes over the fundamental principles of documentation.
Active shooter response: Protecting yourself and your patients
Mass shooting incidents have prompted individuals and organizations, including hospitals and other healthcare facilities, to consider response plans for an “active shooter”. Does your workplace have a plan in place for how to handle an active shooter? Would you know how to react to protect yourself and your patients or clients? The goal of Nurses Service Organization’s article Do you know what do if there's an active shooter at your facility? is to provide nursing professionals with suggestions and resources to help prepare themselves and their workplace.
Legal Case Study: Medication administration error and failure to monitor
This case involves a registered nurse working in an intensive care unit. A 23-year-old woman with no significant medical history presented to the emergency room with flu-like symptoms. Read the Legal Case Study provided by NSO and CNA for a description of events leading up to the patient’s death, what CNA’s defense experts testified in court, what happened during the trial, the costs associated with the case, and CNA’s risk management recommendations.
Legal Case Study: Failure to implement fall prevention interventions in accordance with department protocols
This case involves an 80-year-old male patient who was transported by ambulance to the emergency department (ED) for evaluation after experiencing an unwitnessed fall in a local nursing home. The nursing assessment was completed and noted the patient to be an elderly male at risk for falls. Read the Legal Case Study provided by NSO and CNA, which outlines the events leading up to the lawsuit against the insured nurse, what CNA’s defense experts testified, the costs associated with the case, and CNA’s risk management recommendations.
Legal Case Study: Medication administration error at long-term facility
The LPN, an agency nurse, on duty the evening of the incident had worked at the facility on several occasions and was aware of the facility’s policies and procedures on medication administration. During the scheduled evening medication administration round, the nurse was in the resident’s room when she became distracted by a resident from another room requesting assistance. Read the Legal Case Study provided by NSO and CNA outlines the events leading up to the lawsuit against the insured nurse, what CNA’s defense experts testified, the costs associated with the case, and CNA’s risk management recommendations.