Most doctors carry medical malpractice insurance, also known as professional liability insurance. If the doctor is found to be liable for causing a patient injury, or causing the death of a patient due to a medical error, the insurance may cover the cost of the plaintiff’s damages. However, malpractice insurance is not the same across the medical community. Coverage for some specializations can be double, triple, or even higher than insurance premiums for other doctors.
The numbers behind an insurance company’s premium costs involve a complex calculation with dozens of factors, including practice area, location of practice, the doctor’s claim history, state requirements, and other factors. However, generally, certain specializations are perceived to carry a higher risk of injury or death, which can be attributed to medical errors.
For example, in New York state, Rochester area internal medicine doctors averaged $6,782 in annual premiums for malpractice insurance, compared to more than $25,000 a year for general surgeons, and over $33,000 for OB/GYN coverage. In the Manhattan area, internal medicine insurance rates averaged $25,497 per year, while general surgeons averaged over $95,000 per year. However, OB/GYN malpractice insurance averaged $125,269 per year.
Obstetrics and gynecology have some of the highest rates of malpractice premiums. Many medical malpractice claims against obstetricians involve birth injuries. Birth injuries can be very costly because they may involve a lifetime of care for the injured patient. They can also cause disfigurement or mental or physical limitations that will impact the child’s entire life.
Another reason medical mistakes involving children is more expensive is because an injured child may have more time to file a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the state, injured individuals generally have two or three years to file a personal injury lawsuit according to the state’s statute of limitations.
However, when the injured patient is a child, the statute of limitations may not begin to run until they have turned 18. This means that in a state where the statute of limitations is 2 years, a child injured at birth may have 20 years to file a lawsuit against the doctor that caused their injury.
Surgeons and orthopedic doctors also have generally higher than average malpractice premiums, as do anesthesiologists. Surgery and anesthesiology often involve higher levels of risk of injury for the patient. When a doctor makes a mistake during a surgery, the results can be deadly for the patient. Many major medical malpractice cases involve allegations of malpractice by the surgeon. This includes the surgeon leaving foreign objects in the patient’s body after surgery. There are even cases of the surgeon removing the wrong organ from the patient. These types of errors can have a permanent impact on the patient’s life, and even contribute to their death.
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a medical mistake, the Gilman & Bedigian team is fully equipped to handle the complex process of filing a malpractice claim. Our staff, including a physician and attorneys with decades of malpractice litigation experience, will focus on getting you compensated, so you can focus on healing and moving forward.