You can sue a doctor who does not carry medical malpractice insurance. However, even though you can, the question becomes if you should.
Suing a doctor without insurance means you are pursuing them personally, and their only option for paying compensation is with their own assets. This might not be a sufficient or available option for you.
Should You Sue an Uninsured Doctor?
The American Medical Association (AMA) has found that one in three doctors will face a malpractice suit in their careers. This is why medical liability insurance exists: to protect doctors and provide compensation for injured patients. In the event of malpractice, insurance helps cover:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished earning capacity
- Changes to quality of life
Without insurance, filing a lawsuit against the doctor is one way to try to recover damages. However, receiving a judgment in a case does not necessarily mean you will receive damages, especially non-economic ones like pain and suffering.
This is because collecting damages requires the doctor to have the assets to pay your compensation. Moreover, without insurance to cover defense costs, the doctor may use up funds fighting the suit.
Complications in Collecting Damages
Doctors without insurance likely know that they can be pursued personally for liability. There are several avenues for them to retain their assets or avoid paying, including:
- Placing assets in a trust
- Retirement accounts
- Bankruptcy proceedings
- Offshore banking
One (or even a combination) of these tactics could reduce your chances of receiving what your damages are worth, even if you win your case.
Consider Other Possible Liable Parties
Just because your doctor does not have insurance does not mean you are out of luck in receiving compensation for your expenses. There may be other parties who played a role in your malpractice case, such as:
- Healthcare facilities, like hospitals and clinics
- Staff, such as nurses and techs
- Manufacturers of medical equipment
Like most businesses, these people and institutions all generally carry some form of liability insurance, which means you can pursue your compensation through a claim. The key is establishing a link between these other parties and the malpractice that caused your injury. Proof of this link can include:
- Medical records
- Video surveillance
- Test results
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony
- Injury photos
- Employee background
One of Underwood Law Office’s malpractice attorneys can gather this info on the individuals, institutions, and companies involved in your care, highlighting their role in your injury.
The Healthcare Facility
The doctor involved in your malpractice claim may be covered by the institution’s broader insurance in which they were practicing. Companies can be held liable for their employees’ actions—and the healthcare industry is no different.
Possible parties you can sue in addition to or in lieu of the uninsured doctor include:
- Rehabilitation centers
- Nursing homes
- Physical therapy centers
A malpractice lawyer from our team can help in determining the liability of these facilities in your case. Insurance policies tend to be written in a complicated way to discourage filing a suit. Don’t be deterred—get help instead.
The Healthcare Staff
Some malpractice cases are the result of failings by more than just one doctor. You may be able to recover some damages from other staff who should have noticed the problem.
These could include:
- Consulting physicians
- Lab techs
- X-ray techs
These individuals might have insurance that can help cover your damages, even if the doctor does not. If a person contributed to your pain or illness, they could be held responsible for their part.
Defective equipment or medication might have contributed to your malpractice case. For instance, if a doctor or facility used faulty materials to treat you, not only can they be held liable, but you could include the manufacturer of the materials in a malpractice suit.
Possible defective products for which you can sue manufacturers are:
- Drug administering devices
- Monitoring equipment
- Medical mesh
If you suspect one of the above (or another medical device) played a role in your malpractice case, you may have grounds for a suit.
There is a Cap on Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
Suing several parties in a malpractice suit can help make up for a doctor’s lack of insurance, allowing you to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. However, some states have a cap on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. For example, in Texas, you can receive a maximum of $500,000 in those types of damages when pursuing multiple parties, per Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Codes §74.301.
However, there is no cap on damages for things like lost wages or medical bills. You can pursue any liable parties to receive full compensation for those costs. Our medical malpractice lawyers can help you understand what you can receive from whom.
Get Help Against an Uninsured Doctor From a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Considering all possible avenues for compensation can help you receive the damages you need to cover your costs and alleviate your pain. Even though you can sue a doctor without malpractice insurance, our malpractice lawyers at Underwood Law Office can help explore other liable parties as well.
Call us today with any questions at (972) 535-6377 for a free consultation.