According to a recent report, medical malpractice claims against nurses are on the rise. During the five-year period between 2010 and 2014, more than $90 million was paid in malpractice claims against registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses and licensed practical nurses. Those at the highest risk for malpractice lawsuits are nurses who were trained outside of the United States and nurses who have more experience.
Some highlights include: the average claims cost increased from an average of $151,053 in 2007 to $164,586 in 2015, and male nurses had higher paid indemnity amounts, with an average of $55,175 compared to $38,570 for women.
The report’s risk-reduction strategies include strategic interventions against common causes of patient harms such as patient falls, proactively addressing any potential communication issues within the chain of command and performing timely, accurate assessments of individual patients’ health and conditions.
Indeed, medical malpractice claims against nurses are increasingly common as doctors see more patients, and consequently have less time to spend with each. As more patients have more substantial interactions with nurses, there are greater possibilities of errors. Therefore, many of the primary care functions fall on nurses. In our practice in East Brunswick and Perth Amboy, New Jersey, we see many situations in which clients had far more interactions with nurses than their attending physicians.