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Washington Medical Malpractice Insurance

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Cunningham Group is here for Washington Physicians & Medical Professionals

We are Medical Malpractice Insurance Specialists helping physicians, medical professionals and medical groups across specialties get medical malpractice coverage at cost-effective rates – as well as providing valuable tools and resources.

EXPERIENCED
Founded in 1947, our experienced liability specialists will customize a policy to the specific needs of you and your practice.
PHYSICIAN DISCOUNTS
Get all the physician discounts you are entitled to, including: Risk Management, Claims-free and New to Practice.
PRIOR ACTS COVERAGE
We ensure you receive Prior Acts, so you avoid purchasing separate tail malpractice coverage.
HISTORIC MED-MAL RATE DATA
We publish historic rate data for every county in the State, in partnership with the Medical Liability Monitor – the nation’s leading independent source of Medical Liability Insurance and healthcare industry news.
FREE TOOLS & RESOURCES
Access to ALL MD, our network of Connecticut healthcare defense lawyers. Free Practice Tools, including Online Patient Satisfaction Survey System and Risk Management tools.
CUSTOMER SERVICE
Experience excellent customer service with our dedicated account team.

Cunningham Group Has You Covered

On average, Cunningham Group saves Physicians and Medical Professionals 20% on their medical malpractice insurance.

2017 Washington Malpractice Insurance Marketplace Guide

Washington Med-Mal Fast Facts

  • Most Common Limits of Liability: $1 million/$5 million
  • Major Malpractice Insurers:
    • Physicians Insurance, A Mutual Co.
    • The Doctors Company
    • Medical Protective Co.
    • Washington Casualty Co.
    • Lexington Insurance Co.
  • Cost of medical malpractice insurance: Moderate

The Washington Malpractice Landscape

Malpractice premiums in Washington can be a bit higher than those in surrounding states, but they do not approach the levels seen in many parts of the country. Among the reasons for Washington’s relatively moderate medical liability climate are the large number of carriers in the state and the relatively low number of paid claims against Washington physicians. Historically, Washington physicians have carried limits of $1 million/$5 million, but some are beginning to switch to limits of $1 million/$3 million, which can also lead to lower costs.

Tort Reform in Washington

Washington has implemented many tort reforms over the years, but not all have withstood the test of time. In 1986, the state enacted the Washington Tort Reform Act, which instituted a $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages and set limits on attorney fees. However, in 2003, the Washington Supreme Court ruled the 1986 act to be unconstitutional, determining that it violated the right to trial by jury.

Since this ruling, more attempts at tort reform have been made. In 2005, physician and trial lawyer lobbies engaged in a battle for votes on competing ballot initiatives. The physician, hospital and nursing communities campaigned for I-330, a tort reform package that centered around a $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages and limits on attorney fees; trial lawyers politicked for I-336, which would have established a state-run supplemental liability insurance program and a three-strikes rule where doctors convicted by a jury of three malpractice events would lose their license for a 10-year period. The campaigns for I-330 and I-336 set a record for the most expensive ballot fight ever in Washington, with almost $16.4 million raised by both sides. Neither ballot initiative was passed by the electorate—with I-330 losing by a margin of 43 to 57 percent and I-336 losing 40 to 60 percent.

With both sides losing out in the ballot initiative battle, compromise reforms were passed in 2006, including an apology law; collateral source reforms; requirement for initial mediation when a claim is filed; and a requirement that plaintiff attorneys file a certificate of merit prior to the case going to trial. The requirement for a certificate of merit was ruled unconstitutional in 2009.

Washington’s 2006 legislation included a unique requirement for the state to collect detailed statistics about bout malpractice claims filed in the Washington Court system. Under the law, data on medical malpractice claims by insurers and self-insurers that have been settled—with or without a payment—must be reported to the insurance commissioner, who is mandated to publish annual statistical summaries. It is hoped this data will replace campaign bombast with empirical evidence the next time the tort reform argument gets heated.

Does Washington have...

  • Damage Caps? No
  • Patient Compensation Fund? No
  • Apology Law? Yes, expressions of regret can be made in writing, orally or by conduct. But, statements of fault are admissible in court.
  • Collateral Source Reform? Yes, either party can present evidence of collateral sources, except those from the assets of the plaintiff or their family or representative. Evidence can be presented of any obligation the plaintiff has to repay any benefits, or any amount the plaintiff has paid to secure those benefits.
  • Periodic Payments? Yes, any party can request periodic payments. The court is obligated to order them if future economic damages will exceed $100,000.
  • Joint Liability Reform? Yes, if the plaintiff is found to be partly at fault, then defendants are responsible only for their proportionate share of negligence, unless parties were acting in concert or a person was acting as an agent of another party. If the claimant is not at all at fault, then defendants are jointly and severally liable.
  • Limits on Plaintiff Attorney’s Fees? There is no specific limit, but the court determines the reasonableness of each party’s attorneys’ fees.

Medical Malpractice Rates in Washington

Overview

Medical malpractice rates in Washington are moderate, though higher than in neighboring states like Oregon and Idaho. Though limits of $1 million/$5 million have traditionally been chosen in Washington, some physicians are switching to the more usual limits of $1 million/$3 million, which can save money. Washington obstetricians can find premiums for well under $70,000 per year, while general practitioners should be able to find policies for under $15,000.

Get Historic Rates

By combining our efforts with those of the Medical Liability Monitor – the nation’s leading independent source of Medical Liability Insurance news, as well as the political, legal and risk management issues that affect the healthcare industry – we’ve published historic rate data for every county in the Evergreen State. You can view all the rates by completing the three simple steps on the left of this page. You’ll find the insights offered by this information invaluable when making your decision on your medical malpractice insurance coverage and carriers. This is only one of the many reasons that Cunningham Group Insurance has become the preferred online source for Washington physicians, healthcare professionals and medical groups looking to find the best coverage and lower their medical malpractice insurance rates.

Coverage by Washington County

Rates are mostly consistent across Washington’s 39 counties. The exceptions are King County, which includes Seattle and is the state’s most populous county; Pierce County, where Washington’s third largest city, Tacoma, is located; and Snohomish County, which is the third most populous county in the state. Rates in these three counties can be a little higher than in the rest of the state, depending on the carrier.

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