Physicians will most certainly sign an employment contract after their residency. As such, they must be updated on the “dos and don’ts” about how to negotiate employment contracts since contracts may be full of technical terms that are strange to them. Terms of contract such as contract termination, contingent liabilities, compensation packages, and other clauses must be understood to prevent future legal battles and loss of money. 

Contract negotiations are a huge determinant of how a physician’s career will end. Failure to properly navigate this and explore various options may be the distinction that sets a physician from being an ordinary physician to a largely successful one. Know what you are worth and be ready to negotiate with your employer to get the best out of your contract. Below are three (3) common legal mistakes physicians make when negotiating contracts.

Legal Mistakes That Physicians Make When Negotiating Contracts 

  • Failure To Get Needed Information And Due Diligence

Before negotiating any contract with an employer, physicians need to do their groundwork by researching their potential workplace. Physicians should find out all the information they can about the workplace, such as the number of hours to work per week, nonpatient duties, why previous employees left, how much the employer pays to existing workers, and the general mood around the workplace before considering employment there. Since your employer is probably making inquiries about your credentials, you should also put in as much effort as this will help you during negotiation. The party with the most information will mostly get the better deal in any negotiation. 

  • Failure To Understand Additional Clauses And Terms

Although contracts may be in fine prints, they are much more than that. They are binding legal agreements. Imagine a physician whose employment was terminated due to hidden clauses in the contract. This might lead to financial hardship. However, to prevent this, vague and ambiguous terms must be understood. You should also be able to include your own terms such as anti-fraud and anti-abuse clauses. You should not accept unfairness if the clauses and terms do not meet your expectations. An employer who imposes terms will most likely never treat you with respect professionally and financially.

  • Failure To Negotiate Using A Professional

Physicians are intelligent and might have made critical decisions about their lives in their medical school journey. However, negotiating employment contracts is slightly different. Contracts are full of vague terms that might be confusing and, if skipped, might lead to the loss of thousands of dollars. Most often than not, a dispassionate assessment is needed when negotiating contracts, hence the help of someone trained in contract negotiation to avoid leaving money on the table. It is worth the investment as much clarity will be achieved. Using a professional negotiator for your contracts also communicates to your employers that you are thorough and have your best interests at heart.

Bottom Line

As a physician, fewer contract pages do not mean better deals. Ensure that all negotiations are in writing and clarified to your satisfaction. Terms, conditions, restrictive covenants, compensations, and insurance should be precisely stated. Do not be afraid to negotiate with your employer and walk away if you are undervalued.