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Program Information

Professional Liability and Legal Considerations

C Cardenas

J Masten

C Cardenas1*, J Masten2*, (1) MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, (2) Accuray Incorporated, Madison, WI


10:15 AM : Covering Your Assets: A Brief Overview of General and Professional Liability Insurance for Medical Physicists - C Cardenas, Presenting Author
10:45 AM : Professional Liability Insurance: Basic Coverage and Litigation Procedural Issues for the Practicing Physicist - J Masten, Presenting Author

WE-D-108-0 (Wednesday, August 2, 2017) 10:15 AM - 11:15 AM Room: 108

Medical physicists can be exposed to significant liability risks when performing clinical duties. Professional liability insurance can reduce these risk by providing protection to an individual physicist’s personal assets and income in the event of a lawsuit. This session will describe the differences between General and Professional Liability insurance policies and how each policy may cover different clinical practice scenarios.

The nature and consequences of legal relationships between medical physicists, employers, colleagues, and patients are complex and not often obvious. AAPM has offered education to members on negotiating contracts, identifying and managing liability risks, and other related topics. Special cases and unusual circumstances can arise when changing employers and when real lawsuits occur. This session explores several important aspects of the law affecting medical physicists in clinical practice at these uncommon junctures. Attendees will learn how they may be named as responsible parties in a lawsuit and the importance of understanding Rule 17 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; the pitfalls that accompany the time-dependent effects of claims-made liability insurance and the special precautions needed to ensure coverage through transitions like changing employers, company restructuring, or retirement; and the principles of agency law and their effect on insurance policy exclusions.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe common medical physics practice scenarios that involve professional vs. general liability and associated insurance coverages.
2. Evaluate risk-management tools used in business such as insurance policies, bonds, and umbrella coverage.
3. Understand the legal background for how defendants are named in lawsuits.
4. Understand the impact of agency law on insurance policy exclusions and related legal "fine print".


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