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What Is Absolute Liability?

Gallagher Healthcare :: Industry Insights
By Gallagher Healthcare | 12/12/2018
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Many physicians do not fully understand the definition of absolute liability. In many cases where liability is an issue, it is established by determining a party committed a specific action and was also negligent in some way. Both instances have to be proven.

Therefore, if a procedure such as a surgery results in losses to the patient because they suffer complications after the procedure, the patient must prove the surgeon is responsible for the injury and also that the surgeon acted in a reckless or negligent way. In these situations, a defendant may defend themselves by establishing they did not act with recklessness and took actions other professionals in their situation would have.

In strict liability, which is also called absolute liability, there is no requirement to establish negligence, lack of care or recklessness. If a failure to act or specific actions lead to losses, injury or damages, the defendant can be held liable for an absolute liability tort. You can define absolute liability as simply “liability with no need to establish fault.” No matter what precautions the physician takes, if there’s an injury or death, they are liable.

When Is Absolute Liability a Factor?

Absolute liability is often a consideration in high-risk activities. For example, it could be used in malpractice cases where it could be argued the physician took on a high amount of risk, such as trying a new procedure to save someone’s life. It also could be applied in cases where a defective product is involved, such as an ineffective vaccine that is administered at your healthcare facility.

Clearly, suing for absolute liability provides an advantage to the injured party. It removes the need to prove contributory negligence. However, in situations involving defective products, claimants still have to prove the product is defective, and the defect caused losses or injuries.

Taking out absolute liability insurance might be a smart way to protect your practice from a costly medical malpractice suit. This is especially true if you specialize in an area that carries high risk, such as thoracic, cardiac or neurosurgery. You may be able to avoid absolute liability or secure insurance to reduce the risk for you. Comparing insurance options and creating a custom solution for addressing the risks in your specialty will give you peace of mind. For this, you need professionals who understand recent trends in malpractice claims.

What Should You Do If Your Practice Is High Risk?

Knowing the definition of absolute liability is not enough. If you need absolute liability insurance, you need to be able to minimize your risk, get robust coverage and minimize costs. Gallagher Healthcare can help. Our professionals have years of experience coming up with medical malpractice insurance suited to different physicians’ practices, so we understand your needs as well as the costs of premiums in your area.

At Gallagher Healthcare, we hire attorneys, insurance professionals and industry experts to support you. Our teams understand the risks and potential pitfalls in your specialty and your geographic region, so we can bring you customized options.

We do more than just allow you to compare quotes. We develop strong networks within the insurance industry, so we can bring you options from a variety of providers, including those you may not typically have access to without our advisor support.

Our experts can also help you define absolute liability and develop a personalized plan for your practice’s needs. If you have questions or need to make a claim, you can contact Gallagher Healthcare instead of trying to reach a large insurance company. To find out how we can make a difference, request a quote from us today.

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