When you are accused of professional malpractice, the
program will vigorously defend you and pay the costs that you become legally
responsible for due to allegations of professional negligence. Coverage
automatically extends to veterinary-related activities such as speech making,
consulting, clinical instructing, and serving as a member of a licensing or
veterinary accreditation board. Limits below are listed as per occurrence /
|Plan||Limits||Predominantly Equine||Food Animal or Mixed Practice||Predominantly
Small Animal||Small Animal Exclusive|
|1||$100,000 / $300,000||$1,644||$611||$261||$185|
|3||$1,000,000 / $3,000,000||$2,531||$880||$353||$238|
Predominantly Equine (Class I) : 70-100% of professional
activity is devoted to equine practice
Food Animal or Mixed
Practice (Class II): 70-100% of professional activity is devoted to
food animal practice OR any combination in which no one animal type is 70% or
Predominantly Small Animal (Class III): 70-89% of
professional activity is devoted to small animal practice
Animal Exclusive (Class IV): 90-100% of professional activity
is devoted to small animal practice
Please Note: The Trust
classifies wildlife, zoo, and fur-bearing animals as small animal. Cervidae,
poultry, and ratites are classified as food animals.
The program vigorously defends veterinarians, pays the
costs that veterinarians are legally responsible for due to allegations of
professional negligence, and educates veterinarians about avoiding claims.
Secure Individual Professional Liability Coverage
PLIT-sponsored professional liability policy provides valuable protection and
defense for allegations made against employers for the actions of employees.
However, employed veterinarians are not protected by the owner’s policy.
Employed veterinarians must carry individual professional liability insurance
for protection. The employer as part of a benefits package may pay for coverage
for employed veterinarians. When the employer does not provide you with a
professional liability policy in your name, you must obtain liability
insurance. Your employer may purchase a professional liability policy from a
commercial insurer covering all employed veterinarians. This coverage,
however, will not follow you if veterinary services are provided outside your
employed duties, such as relief, emergency or part-time work.
Consent to Settle
The consent to settle clause in the
PLIT-sponsored Professional Liability Insurance Policy DOES NOT CONTAIN A
HAMMER CLAUSE. No claim will be settled without your consent or a court
order. This protects your reputation and discourages frivolous lawsuits.
It’s common for insurance companies to have the final decision to defend or
settle malpractice allegations. So, if a client is unhappy with a procedure
outcome and demands $500 to ‘go away’, the insurance company has the right
to defend or settle on behalf of the insured veterinarian. Being accused of
veterinary malpractice is a threat to your reputation and career. The
PLIT-sponsored Professional Liability Policy contains a “consent to settle”
clause, which means that the insurance company cannot settle a claim without
your written consent. The “consent to settle” provision is critical to
defend your reputation and discourage frivolous lawsuits. Most insurance
companies will settle unfounded claims simply because it is less costly than
providing a defense regardless of your liability or your wishes. With this
unique benefit in the PLIT-sponsored Program, you decide if the claim and
your reputation will be defended.
Related to the “consent to settle”, another common malpractice
policy stipulation is the hammer clause. This means that if the insurance
company recommends that you settle and you choose not to, you may be
financially responsible for both legal expenses and judgments above the
amount that the insurer could have settled the claim.
this scenario: A defendant alleges that you were negligent and files
suit. The demand is $75,000 for the value of the animal, emergency surgery
and aftercare, and lost wages. Later, the demand is reduced to $25,000, and
your insurance company recommends that you consent to settle the claim.
You’re convinced however, that you met the standard of care, so you
decline. The case goes to trial and the judgment is for $35,000. Because you
refused to settle at $25,000 before the case went to trial, a hammer clause
would stipulate that you are personally responsible for the additional
$10,000 and legal expenses after the point of disagreeing with the
insurance company’s recommendation.
Court Costs and Fees for
Legal fees can be costly, so investigate if
these expenses are included in your malpractice limits or in addition to
your primary limits. Consider that claims in the legal system may take
years to resolve and if legal fees deplete your policy limits, you are
personally responsible thereafter. In the PLIT-sponsored Program, court
costs and fees for defense attorneys provided by the insurer are covered in
addition to policy limits.
Part-time, Emergency, Volunteer,
and Relief Work
Are you covered for activities outside your
place of employment? The PLIT-sponsored policy will protect you wherever you
legally practice, so you don’t have to worry about securing coverage for
part-time, relief, emergency, or volunteer work.
Protection for Veterinary Staff
Every veterinarian working at
the practice should carry an individual policy. Coverage automatically
extends to your non-veterinarian employees.
Earnings can be Garnished
If you are found to be negligent, and
the party making the claim is awarded monetary damages, large debts or a lack
of assets will not excuse you from being responsible for a judgment. If you
do not have insurance to cover such a loss, the court could require you to
provide restitution over a period of time through wage-garnishment (subject
to state laws).
Could you imagine
someone unfamiliar with veterinary care reviewing malpractice allegations
and handling claims on your behalf? This may be the case when coverage is
secured through a local agent. You may be the only veterinarian the agent
insures! In the PLIT-sponsored Program, veterinarian Trust Representatives
review every malpractice allegation submitted. And, the claims adjusters and
insurance professionals are seasoned experts of the PLIT-sponsored Program
and work on your behalf to protect your assets and reputation.
The “standard of care” is key to
malpractice allegations. When a client questions your professional decisions
and files a lawsuit, who will review your standard of care? Who will testify
on your behalf? In the PLIT-sponsored Program, the insurance company works
with the PLIT Trust Representatives and Trustees to identify expert
veterinarian witnesses for PLIT claims. When appropriate, the insurance
company designates expert witnesses on your behalf.
“What if I were Dr. A?” If you are working with horses
or food production animals, what is the highest value of a horse you might
treat, or the value of an entire food production unit or its lost earnings?
Also consider the potential for human injury. Could you pay out-of-pocket
the cost of a client’s medical bills to cover a serious injury? What if a
client permanently loses the function of a hand as a result of a cat bite;
if a horse kicks a client; if a food supply is contaminated by inappropriate
recommendations; or if an accidental human death occurs? PLIT-sponsored
liability limits are available up to $6,000,000 per claim and up to
Are you interested in obtaining
professional liability coverage specifically designed by