Those in the medical profession, especially physicians, are among the most sued individuals on the planet. OB/GYNs are only a fraction of all physicians (approximately 5%), however make up 14% of malpractice insurance claims. This totals 25% of plan losses. Not only are OB/GYNs sued more frequently, but those suits pay the highest claims. Over a quarter of the claims are over $250,000. A recent study showed that more than 75% of OB/GYNs have been sued during their careers – most being sued more than once.
More and more lawsuits result in judgments that far exceed the limits of malpractice insurance. The mental stress of being sued or worrying about being sued is well-known by many physicians. Insurance policies are not enough to guarantee the security of assets in the event of a malpractice lawsuit.
One physician we just spoke to recently just had just been sued for $28 million. The good news is that he had a $3 million malpractice insurance policy. The bad news it that he only had a $3 million malpractice policy. Just as in this case, insurance is not nearly enough.
Because OB/GYNs face substantial medical malpractice lawsuit risks, a strong asset protection strategy offers substantial peace of mind. Odds are that a lawsuit is not an “if” but a “when.” So, for less than the cost of one year’s insurance premiums a complete protection plan can be put into place that shields assets from malpractice lawsuits. So, when a lawsuit does show its ugly head, the physician can have the security to know that he or she can still provide for his or her household.
Property, investments, business interest and future income can all be insulated from a judgment with a the proper asset protection strategy.
Just as an insurance policy is purchased for the likelihood of future liability, so is an asset protection strategy put into place for this purpose. For medical professionals who wish to augment their financial planning with asset protection, the best time to act is before a suit is filed. There are ways to protect assets after being sued. But the most protective structures are put in place well before the threat.
There are asset protection measures that can be implemented that can greatly improve one’s position in settlement litigation. So, the first step is to get in contact with an organization (such as this one) that specializes in protecting assets from lawsuits.
What to Do
There are asset protection trusts that can put finances beyond the reach of creditors. Domestic trusts are one set of options. The big challenge they face, however, is that these trust are under the jurisdiction of the local courts. Offshore trusts, on the other hand, place assets outside of the reach of your friendly neighborhood juge.
You can also establish a professional corporation. Whereas it does not protect against professional liability it can offer a shield against many instances of employer liability. If your secretary is texting and driving as she picks up lunch for you and runs down a bicyclist, such an entity can provide a barrier between you and your business.
Lawyers Write the Laws
Keep mind mind, lawyers write the laws. That is, most lawmakers have law degrees. When they write the laws they write them to the benefit of their own profession. So, laws are not designed to be “fair.” They are designed to make it as easy as reasonably possible for members of the legal profession to transfer money from you to themselves and their clients.
Moreover, with ever-expanding theories of legal liability, the scales of justice are continuously tipped in the favor of the attorney. An asset protection plan can act as a substantial counterweight.
The liability risks medical professionals face are substantial. In the event that a malpractice claim exceeds policy coverage or a claim is denied coverage by an insurance carrier, the personal devastation can be substantial. Risks such as these warrant a strong financial protection strategy. With an asset protection plan in place, a physician’s financial future can be secured for years to come, regardless of the legal threats his or her next patient may bring.