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Highest Malpractice Insurance by Specialty

Gallagher Healthcare :: Industry Insights
By Gallagher Healthcare | 11/21/2018

Have you ever wondered what specialties pay the highest amount for malpractice insurance? There can be quite a gap in the premiums paid for different focuses, due largely to the likelihood of that specialist being sued. The most-sued medical specialties tend to have higher insurance costs because they’re more likely to end up in court and need to lean on that insurance.

What factors impact the likelihood to be sued? Studies have shown specialties where past cases have resulted in few payouts may be sued less than others. People are also more likely to sue physicians in fields that have yielded larger payouts. Beyond that, there a are few things that tie these cases together besides the high risk factors in each field.

So, what are the most sued medical specialties? Let’s take a look.

Obstetrics and Gynecology

OB-GYNs rank among the most frequent targets of medical malpractice lawsuits. The New England Journal of Medicine notes suits against these doctors are most likely to result in high payouts. Because of this, patients may be more likely to sue. These doctors have perhaps the highest cost of medical malpractice insurance because the two-year statute of limitations is so drawn out — it doesn’t start in many states until the injured party, in this case the baby delivered, turns 18. That means, theoretically, patients can sue up to two decades after the alleged malpractice occurs.


The NEJM found nearly 1 in 5 neurosurgeons have faced a malpractice case, making it the most frequent target of lawsuits. It’s little wonder, then, that insurance companies have raised premiums for malpractice insurance for this group. Plaintiffs also tend to get the highest payouts, costing insurance companies not just litigation fees but also those damages.

Plastic Surgery

When people have plastic surgery, they often have an idealized notion of what they want to look like after. If this goal isn’t reached, they may feel hurt and disappointed. This can result in an inflated rate of plastic surgery malpractice cases, where physicians didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, but patients feel angry or upset about the results. The recent high number of malpractice cases has resulted in a jump in insurance premiums.

Orthopedic Surgery

Underwriters increase the premium level for insurance in specialty areas deemed risky. Orthopedics includes spinal surgery, which includes a high risk for patients as it’s a sensitive area of the body. The specialty can also include tricky diagnoses. The possibility of an incorrect or delayed diagnosis raises the specter of malpractice, resulting in higher premiums.

Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

The New England Journal of Medicine study found thoracic and cardiovascular surgeons are second-most-likely to face malpractice cases behind neurosurgeons. It can cost more to litigate a malpractice claim against a cardiologist because of the special knowledge required to argue the case. Claims are also more likely to include deaths, adding a heavier risk factor to this specialty.

Minimizing Your Malpractice Insurance Premiums

While malpractice suits are part of practicing medicine, there are steps you can take to mitigate your risk.

At Gallagher Healthcare, we can help you find the best policy for your practice, based on our years of experience, broad carrier network and ability to act as advisors to find you the best solution possible customized to your needs. Get in touch with us today to get a free quote.

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