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Doctors Strategize to Protect Against Malpractice Lawsuits

MDs Looking for Ways to Avoid Losing Personal Property

The Chicago Tribune "Chicago Homes" section recently ran a question-and-answer piece which focused on strategies that doctors and other healthcare professionals can use to safeguard their homes and other personal assets against the possibility of losing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The vast majority of doctors are covered by medical malpractice insurance policies which they pay for to protect them against being forced to pay out on a patient's claim of having been injured by some type of medical negligence. In the event that the value of the plaintiff's claim exceeds the limits of the policy, however, the doctor may be held liable to pay for the amount of damages which are not covered by the insurance.

The article mentioned one of the most effective strategies as being the establishment of a trust, an estate planning strategy which involves transferring vulnerable assets out of one's own legal ownership and into the ownership of the trust in order to protect them against the claims of creditors. In addition, they recommended simply paying for more coverage with a more expensive malpractice policy. This is especially important for doctors in Illinois, a state which is famous as being one of those which does not impose caps on the damages which can be claimed in a medical malpractice lawsuit. While this may be the cause of considerable concern for doctors, it is good news for the patients who have suffered preventable injuries and for families who have lost a loved one as a result of medical negligence.

The fact is that Illinois is among the leading states in the country in the field of medical malpractice claims, according to data released by Diederich Healthcare, a nationwide medical malpractice insurance company. Illinois is one of the six states which accounted for 51.4 percent of all medical malpractice payouts in 2011, and it ranked third in the country with a total of $242,108,800 in payouts. This state also had one of the highest average payout amounts, at $580,596. In comparison, the state with the highest average payout was Hawaii, with $686,509, while Indiana had the lowest payout at $122,297. If you or a loved one has suffered injury as a result of medical malpractice on the part of a doctor or other healthcare practitioner, contact Duncan Law Group to discuss the matter and learn how much your case may be worth.