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Malpractice and Tort Law Protection

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  • Malpractice and Tort Law Protection

    Hi All,

    I am a dentist and work for an government funded employer, which offers malpractice protection for me under the Federal Tort Claims Act.  However, I'm more comfortable having some of my own malpractice insurance in addition to the Federal Tort protection. Surprising tome, I have found it challenging to find one that will insure me, however, and the insurance agent I usually work with says if I were to have insurance they wouldn't pay out anyway, they would consider the government fully responsible as a "primary insurance".

    My worry comes from the fact that those in charge can choose to not protect you under Federal Tort Claims act.  Arguably it would take some demonstrated gross negligence, however, sometimes documents or radiographs can disappear from a chart or with  computer glitch leaving nothing to stand on.

    Any comments or solutions out there?

    Thanks!  MW DDS

  • #2
    Not sure why you would be placed in a situation where they could choose not to protect you. When I was in the military we were all covered by the federal tort act including our civilian contractors. No one I knew purchased additional insurance because in theory, the government has unlimited pockets to pay lawyers to fight against lawsuits. If anything, having additional coverage would probably make you a target because its easier to sue a private company than the government in my opinion.


    • #3
      Thank you Dr. Money Matters, that's an interesting point I hadn't considered.  I have worked for Indian Health Services and the State of CA and both have had official representatives who have said that you can be "on your own."  The example they give is if you use the wrong consent form, or perhaps if a medical document is lost and you can't prove it one way or another what actually happened.  I don't know if they have ever left any providers high and dry, but they have certainly said at official meetings and in private meetings that it can happen.

      There is also the worry of administrative fees if there is  a complaint against my professional license.  I understand defending your license from complaints can run several tens of thousands of dollars, whether the complaints are justified or not. Federal Tort doesn't protect against licensure complaints to my understanding but that can still be expensive.