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Washington State Medical Malpractice Insurance
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Washington State Medical Malpractice Insurance

Free Quotes on Medical Liability Insurance for Washington physicians

With a number of different medical malpractice insurance companies offering competitive rates it's important for doctors in Washington State to shop around to get the best coverage at the most affordable rates.

Submit your quick and easy malpractice quote request today and see if there is a better rate available. It could end up saving you important money on your medical liability insurance.


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Benefits to Washington Doctors

  • "A" Rated Carriers – Compare malpractice rates to get the best coverage at the most affordable price.
  • Prior Acts Coverage is included. No need to purchase separate tail coverage.
  • Discounts Available – New to Practice Discounts, Claims Free Discounts and more.
  • Switch Anytime - you do not need to wait until your renewal date.
  • Top-Rated Advice and assistance for new to practice doctors as well as doctors relocating to Washington state.
  • As the medical field continually evolves many physicians now have unique or very specific liability coverage requirements. Let a licensed insurance professional experienced in the Washington market work with you to tailor a liability policy to your individual needs.
  • A free quote could save you important money today.

Washington State Malpractice Insurance – Overview

When compared to the nation as a whole, Washington State carries relatively affordable medical malpractice insurance rates. OB/Gyns in cities like Chicago and Miami pay as much as three times the amount in annual premium as those in the Evergreen State. Yet, when the state’s physicians are compared to their neighboring counterparts in Idaho and Oregon, those same physicians are paying between $10,000 and $20,000 more for the same coverage. For decades, supporters of tort reform in Washington have claimed this premium disparity threatens the state's ability to retain quality physicians and maintain its citizens’ access to healthcare.

In the early 1980s, proponents of tort reform began warning excessive costs and an unfair legal system threatened the ability of physicians to practice medicine, potentially leaving patients without access to needed care. The reformers pointed to doctors limiting vital services such as obstetrics, trauma care and brain surgery because of the fear of being sued and the uncontrolled costs of the legal system. They also blamed the ever-increasing cost of healthcare on a legal system they believed was overly influenced by personal injury attorneys who were receiving contingent compensation of up to 50 percent of a verdict plus expenses, ultimately leaving little for the injured party.

In the summer of 1986, the state legislature enacted the Washington Tort Reform Act, a comprehensive tort reform package intended to stabilize the costs of medical malpractice insurance. The legislation included a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages, applying regardless of the number of health professionals, providers or institutions involved. Additionally, the act placed a $700,000 limit on total combined civil liability for non-economic damages caused by persons other than healthcare professionals. Other tenets of the 1986 Washington Tort Reform Act included contingent attorney fees could not exceed 40 percent of the first $50,000 recovered, 33 percent of the next $50,000, 25 percent of the following $500,000 recovered and 15 percent of any recovery exceeding $600,000; placed a statute of limitation on actions; required giving a potential defendant at least 90 days' notice prior to filing a lawsuit; and required the action to initially undergo a mediation process.

In 2003, the Washington Supreme Court declared the Tort reform Act unconstitutional, ruling that it violated a citizen's constitutional right to trial by jury. The court found that the determination of damages, especially non-economic damages, is a factual issue within the province of the jury's fact-finding role.

In response, the pro-tort-reform movement spent nearly $7 million to inform the public of their belief the state’s access to care was being threatened and get Initiative 330 (I-330) on the 2005 ballot. The I-330 proposal would have limited lawyers fees in medical malpractice cases and allow physicians to require would-be patients to sign away their rights to sue for claims of malpractice. I-330 would have also restricted judgments against insurers, treatment facilities, therapists, social workers, group homes and other industries. After receiving support from the more rural counties where citizens did feel there was a real access-to-care problem, the ballot initiative did not pass statewide.

The following year, the Washington State Legislature passed 2SHB 2292, a large, but relatively inconsequential, healthcare liability reform measure that was not opposed by either physicians or trial lawyers. The 2006 bill contained provisions that included: allowing doctors to apologize for adverse outcomes without the apology being admissible in court; requiring a medical facility to notify the Department of Health within 48 hours of confirmation that an adverse event has occurred and a subsequent report of the adverse event be made available within 45 days; requiring that in medical negligence actions involving the claim of a breach of standard of care the plaintiff file a certificate of merit from a qualified top-rated stating there is a reasonable probability that the defendant's conduct did not meet the required standard of care based on the information known at the time; and establishing a new voluntary arbitration system for disputes involving alleged professional negligence in the provision of healthcare where all parties have agreed to submit the dispute to voluntary arbitration.

In 2008, the physicians of Washington did register a significant victory when they stalled to a defeat Washington House Bill 1873 (HB 1873), which would have made a number of changes to state statutes that govern wrongful death and survival causes of action, particularly in the areas of expanding areas of who could sue and the damages they could recover. It would have greatly increased the rewards plaintiffs and their lawyers could have received in wrongful death suits, especially from government agencies at the state and local levels.

Currently, medical malpractice insurance premiums seem to be softening in the state of Washington. In 2008, two of the three major writers of medical liability coverage in the state reduced their rates by an average of 10 percent, and in the two years previous, premiums remained flat. Nevertheless, the pro-tort-reform movement in the state of Washington has vowed to continue the fight to pass meaningful liability reform, including limitations on non-economic damages; evidence of collateral source payments; a sliding scale of attorney contingency fees; statute of repose/limitations reform; binding arbitration; mandatory mediation as well as joint and several liability reform.



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