Do Professional Corporations Protect Physicians?
The problem for physicians ( and other professionals) is that personal liability for malpractice cannot be limited by using a corporation. Regardless of whether you conduct your practice through a PC, you will not be shielded from any claims asserted for injury to a patient. If you lose a case, any amount not covered by your insurance will be satisfied from your personal assets. With jury awards of $3 million and up occurring with some regularity-your entire net worth is on the line with every patient you treat. We will see that if you cannot legally shield yourself from liability-the proper strategy is to protect what you own from a potential claim.
Although the PC won’t protect you from claims by a patient which you treat, it can be used to defend against the negligence of a partner. If your practice is organized as a general partnership, you are legally responsible for any injury caused by your partner. Even if you don’t do anything wrong, you are liable for the actions of your partner. But using a PC limits your responsibility to only those acts committed by you or your employees. You are not liable for injury caused by a “partner” in your medical practice. For those in practice with other doctors, the PC creates a necessary degree of liability protection.