If you are a doctor in West Virginia, you may be looking for medical malpractice insurance. You may also have questions about how this coverage works and whether it is essential for you to carry in the state. This guide will answer your questions about malpractice insurance in West Virginia so you can best protect your professional reputation and personal assets in the event that you face a malpractice lawsuit.
West Virginia Malpractice Insurance Fast Facts
If you are a new physician to the state of West Virginia, you may have questions about malpractice coverage. Are you legally required to obtain malpractice insurance in the state? How much is malpractice insurance in West Virginia? If you want answers that are tailored to your unique situation, you can speak with an insurance advisor at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. for specifics based on your location and specialty.
1. Am I Required to Carry Malpractice Insurance in West Virginia?
No, you are not required to carry physician malpractice insurance in West Virginia. However, to work in certain health care facilities in the state, you may be required to carry medical malpractice insurance. You may also need to carry malpractice insurance to participate in a health insurance plan.
Even if you do not face any of these requirements for malpractice insurance, you may want to obtain coverage to protect your professional reputation and your personal assets in the event that you face a malpractice lawsuit.
2. How Much Medical Malpractice Insurance Do You Need in West Virginia?
The amount of medical malpractice insurance you should carry in West Virginia depends on where you are located and your specialty, along with how much coverage you may need to work in health care facilities in your area. Specialty can affect how much coverage you need, as high-risk specialties tend to require more coverage than lower-risk specialties. For example, a surgeon will likely need more coverage than a medical professional who does not perform surgeries.
The amount of coverage you need also depends on what types of policy and add-ons you want. For example, you can choose from an occurrence policy or claims-made policy and add on tail coverage or nose coverage to your policy.
3. How Much Are West Virginia Malpractice Insurance Rates?
How much does malpractice insurance cost in West Virginia? Malpractice insurance rates in West Virginia vary based on county, specialty, history of malpractice claims and the type of policy. If you are a surgeon and need more coverage, you may pay a higher rate for your malpractice insurance.
If you choose an occurrence policy over a claims-made policy, you may also pay a higher rate for your coverage, as an occurrence policy offers more coverage than a claims-made policy. Ultimately, the cost of your medical malpractice insurance depends on your specific circumstances and your preferences.
Tort Reform in West Virginia
A few decades ago, many medical malpractice insurance carriers left the state of West Virginia. Even with a state-formed medical malpractice insurance fund, doctor-owned carriers dominated the market share. With the lack of carriers, physicians were left with only a few options for liability insurance, most of which came with relatively high premiums. Although tort reform has steadily decreased premiums over the years, premiums still remain uncomfortably high and the state is troubled with numerous claims each year.
Previously, the West Virginia legislature placed a cap of $1M on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. This cap was later lowered to $250,000, or $500,000 in special cases with adjustment factors as well as joint and several liability reforms enacted.
In addition to the caps placed on damages, medical liability lawsuits were required to present a certificate of merit from experts to help review the standard of care provided by the physician. For several decades, West Virginia has not held many medical malpractice insurance carriers. Being such a litigious state makes West Virginia unattractive to most carriers. The carriers that remain offer physicians many of the same options, including:
- Consent to settle provision
- Unlimited tail length
- Defense costs that are outside the limits of liability
Statute of Limitations
In West Virginia, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury or after the date of discovery or after the claimant should have reasonably been able to discover the injury. In no event can a person pursue any action more than 10 years following the date of the injury.
Top Carriers in West Virginia
In West Virginia, the major medical malpractice insurance providers can change regularly, which can make navigating the market difficult for individual physicians. Markets change when established insurance providers merge with other companies and when new insurers enter the market. At Gallagher, our connections to the top carriers across the nation allow us to help you find the best available coverage.
Insurance Companies in West Virginia
Since there are several insurance providers serving West Virginia, you may struggle to find the company that offers the best coverage for you. Most doctors are unable to find the best insurance rates and terms on their own, which makes having an insurance advisor like Gallagher by your side an essential part of navigating the many West Virginia insurance companies.
West Virginia Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates by Specialty
West Virginia medical malpractice rates are largely dependent on your specialty. If you are a physician who offers care that poses higher risks to patients, you will likely pay a higher premium for your coverage than a physician who provides patients with lower-risk care. Your rate will also depend on your claim history and location, so if you want a specific quote, you can discuss your circumstances with an insurance expert at Gallagher.
Why Partner With Gallagher in West Virginia
By partnering with Gallagher, you will work with West Virginia's largest advisor and provider of malpractice insurance. Since we actively communicate with the state's top carriers, we can help negotiate the best possible coverage terms for you. If dealing with computers isn't your thing, you can speak with a real insurance expert at Gallagher.
Resource for Physicians in West Virginia
While state law in West Virginia does not require you to obtain medical malpractice insurance, you may not be able to practice in certain health care facilities in the state without it. We have assisted countless health care practitioners and facilities in finding the coverage needed at the best available terms, and we can do the same for you.
At Gallagher, our clients save an average of 20% to 50% when they work with us. You can contact us to learn more about malpractice insurance in West Virginia or take a few minutes to 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 West Virginia.
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 West Virginia compares to other states.