Washington News

Study Shows Malpractice Claims Not Affecting Physician Insurance Rates

A recent study in the state of Washington shows that malpractice lawsuit awards are not causing insurance rates to increase.  The study comes as voters prepare to decide on two key insurance related issues in the state’s election this fall.

The state survey showed the number of malpractice claims grew by 3.5 percent last year and the average malpractice award increased by 3.2 percent.  Most of the awards to patients were under $100,000.  Many cases were also settled for amounts of $1 million or more, however.

Despite the increase in malpractice claims, insurance and malpractice rates for doctors have not seen dramatic increases.  The study shows that the malpractice insurance rate increases that are being touted by some in the medical community as reaching “crisis” levels are far from that point.

Initiative 336, a measure on the state’s ballot, is set up to add additional state sponsored supplemental malpractice programs for doctors.  The initiative would have no caps on malpractice awards and allow for the license revocation of doctors found guilty in three malpractice verdicts in 10 years.

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