There is a public misperception that the majority of medical malpractice lawsuits are aimed at physicians. But the reality is that in some cases, multiple defendants can be named in a lawsuit by attorneys seeking larger punitive damages than might be obtained from a single defendant. That means any healthcare professionals—pharmacists, nurses, counselors, physical therapists—can be targeted by malpractice litigation.
In a recent Maryland case, multiple defendants were sued by a woman who had a CT scan that revealed ovarian cysts. The woman was not informed of the presence of the cysts and was not recommended for a follow-up sonogram. She eventually suffered permanent physical injuries. The patient’s lawyers successfully sued a physician’s assistant, a nurse, three doctors, and others associated with Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Community Physician’s Inc.
In this case, the nurse and physician’s assistant were required to mount their own defense, which cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses.
In response to such cases, the medical malpractice insurance industry offers programs tailored to the needs of nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists and others who might not be covered by their employer’s malpractice insurance.
The malpractice insurance industry has numerous programs that pay reimbursement for lost wages, transportation costs, and other personal expenses that are incurred with a malpractice lawsuit. In today’s litigious society, malpractice lawyers often take aim at the largest number of possible defendants hoping for a massive payout. While laws concerning multiple defendants vary from state to state, anyone who works in the healthcare industry should look into professional liability insurance for their specific field.