Physicians who are new to Louisiana and Louisiana residents who recently became doctors tend to have questions about how medical malpractice works in the state. Are doctors required to carry malpractice insurance in Louisiana? How much does medical malpractice insurance cost in Louisiana? Learning everything you can about this crucial insurance can protect your career.
Louisiana Medical Malpractice Insurance Fast Facts
The following are some frequently asked questions physicians have about medical malpractice insurance in Louisiana:
1. Are You Required to Carry Malpractice Insurance in Louisiana?
Louisiana is not one of the seven states that require physicians to carry malpractice insurance. However, to participate in the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund, physicians in this state must carry medical malpractice insurance. Almost all of Louisiana's physicians participate in this fund, as they cannot receive hospital privileges in the state if they do not participate in the fund.
By carrying medical malpractice insurance in Louisiana, you'll ensure that your finances and professional reputation are protected.
2. How Much Malpractice Insurance Do I Need in Louisiana?
How much malpractice insurance you need depends on your location and your specialty. Physicians with higher-risk specialties will need more coverage to ensure they have adequate protection in the event of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
To participate in the Patient's Compensation Fund, physicians are required to carry $100,000 primary insurance.
3. How Much Are Louisiana Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates?
How much is malpractice insurance for doctors in Louisiana? Similarly to the amount of coverage you'll need, the cost of malpractice insurance in Louisiana depends on your location and specialty. For example, Obstetrics and Gynecology tend to have the highest medical malpractice premiums. Your rate may also vary depending on whether you are a state healthcare provider or a private healthcare provider.
Tort Reform in Louisiana
In response to the medical malpractice insurance crisis of the 1970s, the state of Louisiana introduced the Medical Malpractice Act in 1975. This law separated medical malpractice claims into two different groups: claims against private healthcare providers and claims against public or state healthcare providers. The Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act (LMMA) governs claims against private providers while the Malpractice Liability for State Services Act (MLSSA) governs claims made against state-employed healthcare providers.
Claims Trends and Analysis in Louisiana
A Medical Review Panel made up of three physicians in the same specialty as the defendant physician must review each claim. The panel is moderated by a non-voting attorney who is chosen by the three physicians on the panel. The defendant chooses one of the three physicians, the plaintiff chooses the second, and the two previous appointees choose the third panel physician. It is only after the Medical Review Panel makes a decision that a lawsuit may be filed. Regardless of the Panel's decision, the plaintiff has 90 days to file suit against the defendant physician.
Statute of Limitations
Patients have one year from the date of discovery or one year from when the alleged negligent act should have been discovered to request the formation of a Medical Review Panel. In no event can a claim be made more than three years from the date of the incident. Wrongful death claims must be brought within one year from the date of death.
Both the LMMA and MLSSA Acts afford the same protections to each group of healthcare providers by way of caps on damages, statute of limitations, medical review panels, etc. The current cap on damages is $500,000 (inclusive of non-economic damages as well as lost wages), plus past and future medical costs. This cap is the same now as it was when the law was enacted in 1975. The cap only applies to qualified healthcare providers. Louisiana statute maintains a broad definition of a healthcare provider, as it includes virtually any licensed practitioner providing patient care within the state of Louisiana. However, to be deemed qualified, one must pay the applicable annual surcharge into the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund. Participation in the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund is not required by state statute. However, if a healthcare provider does not participate by paying the surcharge, they will not receive the benefits of the LMMA.
Louisiana Medical Malpractice Insurance and the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund
Louisiana is one of only a few states in the country that has a patient's compensation fund. Patient's compensation funds are pools of money established by the state and filled by doctors' annual surcharge payments to provide additional monetary support to pay claims in excess of primary insurance limits. Although state healthcare providers are automatically covered, private healthcare providers must pay the annual surcharge in addition to their primary insurance premium to be deemed qualified. Due to the $500,000 cap on damages for claims made against qualified healthcare providers most physicians carry $100,000 per claim and $300,000 annual aggregate on their private primary insurance layer over which the Patient's Compensation Fund will pay an additional $400,000 up to the cap plus the past and future medical expenses of injured patients.
Top Carriers in Louisiana
The following are some of the top medical malpractice insurance carriers in Louisiana:
- Louisiana Medical Mutual Insurance Company (LAMMICO)
- Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group (The Medical Protective Insurance Company)
- ProAssurance Company, Inc.
- CNA Insurance Companies
- Fairfax Financial (USA) Group
- Coverys Companies
- National Group
- Alleghany Insurance Holdings Group
- W.R. Berkley Insurance Group
- Arch Insurance Group
- AXIS US Operations
- Markel Corporation Group
- Zurich Financial Services NA Group
- NORCAL Mutual Insurance Company
- ISMIE Indemnity Company
Learn more about how we choose our carriers.
Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies in Louisiana
In Louisiana, doctors can select from many medical malpractice insurance providers. This wide variety of options gives doctors the chance to find the most favorable terms for their malpractice coverage, but finding the best insurance carrier and coverage terms can feel like an overwhelming process. When you have an advisor like Gallagher on your side, you'll have no trouble finding the right insurance carrier and the most favorable terms.
Why Partner With Gallagher in Louisiana
Because we're the largest provider of medical malpractice insurance in Louisiana, you'll receive access to the state's major insurance providers and obtain the best possible terms for your coverage. You'll get the opportunity to speak with an expert on malpractice insurance in Louisiana, and you won't need to pay us for helping you find the right insurance policy for you.
By partnering with Gallagher, you'll obtain the most favorable terms for your insurance coverage. We have connections with major insurance providers and the knowledge needed to negotiate the best terms.
A Resource for Physicians in Louisiana
Practicing medicine can be extremely risky for physicians who don't have medical malpractice insurance. To protect yourself financially, obtain medical malpractice insurance. To learn more about our medical malpractice insurance, contact us or request a quote today.
This chart compares the range of possible state filed medical malpractice premium rates by admitted markets and a few Gallagher Select markets broken out by the top 15 specialties in Louisiana.
The map below provides a visual display of the nation and compares what a typical primary care physician might pay compared to each individual state and county. This research is based on the average rate for a single specialty, the most common limits in that state, and the mature claims made premium. The darker the blue, the higher the average premium, see how Louisiana compares to other states.