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Suppose you've been sued for malpractice, and your insurance carrier wants to settle the case rather than risk a big jury verdict. But you're convinced that your diagnosis and treatment were correct, and you're willing to take your chances with a trial. What are your options?
If you're lucky, your malpractice policy has a "consent to settle clause" that prevents the insurer from settling a claim against you without your approval. But suppose you do refuse to settle, and then lose the case when it goes to trial. Depending on the terms of the policy and on state law, you could end up personally liable for a sizable sum that's not covered by your carrier.
That's what happened to Millard Henry, an anesthesiologist in Edmond, OK. He was sued for malpractice by Jackie Parish, who claimed that Henry's negligence caused her husband to suffer a stroke during surgery for a ruptured appendix.
About a year before the case went to trial in 2002, Parish offered to settle her claim for $1 million, the limit of Henry's coverage with Physicians Liability Insurance Company. Henry refused, invoking the consent clause in his policy. During the trial, Parish renewed the offer to settle for Henry's $1 million policy limit, but again Henry refused...