Professional liability insurance for healthcare professionals

Health-care workers may independently provide any service for which they have an adequate education and for which they are qualified and have adequate equipment available. They assume ethical, professional, criminal and material (damage) responsibility for their work.

Health-care workers must be insured against liability for damages (cases of compensation claims by patients or their relatives) as the insurance of their professional liability is mandatory.

Doctors working directly with patients must be insured against liability for damages that might arise from their work. Employed doctors are insured by a health-care service provider as their employer, while private doctors are self-insured.

If a compensation claim results from a professional error in performing a health-care activity or service, the costs incurred will be covered by the insurance company. Thus, in the case of a compensation claim, the insurance company with which a health-care worker has concluded a professional liability insurance will consider the claim and, in certain cases, will be liable for civil proceedings of the insured and the costs of the defence of the insured in criminal proceedings. An injured patient may also file a claim directly with the insurance company with which the professional liability of the health-care worker is insured.

With the insurance, a health-care worker or a health-care service provider (legal or natural person) insures his/her property and property interest.  Thus, an insurance company is liable for damages arising from the claims of patients or their relatives brought against a health-care service provider (to the employer of the employed health-care workers or to an individual private health-care worker) due to legally recognised personal damage resulting from the actions of health-care workers for which the health-care service provider is liable in relation to the provision of health-care services (health-care in its broader sense).

The insurance sum for doctors (and dentists) should be fixed according to individual specialisations annually by the Medical Chamber of Slovenia.  The last decision issued in 2001 stipulates that a doctor (and a dentist) who is in direct contact with patients shall  be insured against liability for damages that might arise from his/her work for a minimum sum of 3,000,000 SIT (former Slovenian currency), i.e. EUR 12,519). This sum was to be applicable in 2001 for all specialisations.   The decision is still in force, but in practice, health-care providers make arrangements directly with insurance companies where the insurance sums are significantly higher.

It should also be noted that insurance companies have different general terms and that some insurance companies have no coverage, for example, for damages resulting from the violation of the explanatory obligation.

More detailed information on the insurance of professional liability of specific health-care workers may be obtained from the health-care service providers where the relevant health-care workers perform health-care services.