Medical Malpractice Insurance Primer
Arizona Medical Malpractice Basics
- 4 companies comprised 93.5% of the market in 2013.
- Number of Physicians: 15,707
- Insurers with more than 1% of market: 12
Arizona does not have caps on damages in medical malpractice cases. There are no limits on attorneys’ fees. Arizona uses a ‘pure comparative negligence’ rule. If the plaintiff is at fault at some percentage, this percentage is deducted from the damages awarded.
Relatively recently, the burden of proof has become more difficult for plaintiffs targeting ER physicians. Plaintiffs must provide ‘clear and convincing evidence’ compared to a ‘preponderance of the evidence’ that was required previously.
“Horseshoe-Bend” by Erdwinger – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Statute of Limitations
In Arizona, medical malpractice claims must be brought within 2 years of the date of occurrence of the negligent act. However, a discovery rule does apply in Arizona, so there can be a delay in the statute of limitations until the injury manifests itself. For minors under 18, the statute of limitations does not begin until the child’s 18th birthday.
Arizona’s typical liability limit for medical malpractice insurance is $1,000,000 per occurrence and $3,000,000 aggregate per policy period (1 year). The $1M/$3M limit is fairly standard across the U.S. In some states, and particularly in rural areas, physicians are allowed to carry lower limits, but most physicians are not comfortable with lower limits. The argument for lower limits is that in the case of a lawsuit, attorneys will only go after the amount of the policy limit, so the higher the limit the more money they will sue for. However, in today’s litigious environment, and particularly in a state with no caps on non-economic damages, the $1M/$3M limit is recommended.
Four main companies dominate over 93% of the market. There are only 11-12 carriers actively writing new business at any given time, as carriers enter and exit the market year to year.
Summary of the Arizona Medical Malpractice Market
Arizona’s insurance market is very limited in competition with a low number of insurers in a concentrated market, yet for now, rates remain relatively stable. Written premium was down slightly from 2012-2013, while average rates increased slightly, as well. Arizona’s liability environment could stand some improvement with increased competition and further reform measures, but for now, the center seems to be holding.
External Links & Resources for Arizona Physicians & Surgeons
- Arizona Medical Association (ARMA)
- Arizona Medical Board
- Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association (AOMA)
- Maricopa County Medical Society (MCMS)
- Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA)
- The Arizona Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (AASCA)
Want to learn more about medical malpractice insurance policies in your state? Call our main office in St. Louis, Missouri, at (855) 823-5283 for all your questions about malpractice policies in Arizona. Get your free quote today!
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