Utah legislators passed a law in 2010 limiting the amount of non-economic damages awarded in medical malpractice cases to $450,000. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering. There is no limit in other categories such as medical expenses, loss of income, etc. Many feel the cap has helped keep malpractice insurance rates low and stabilized the market because it has discouraged malpractice claims.
In Utah a patient has 2 years from the date when an injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered to file a medical malpractice suit. In addition, there’s a maximum of 4 years from the date of the care that allegedly caused the injury. This rule applies to people of all ages but there have been cases involving minors where exceptions have been made.
While there are 36 insurance companies offering medical professional liability insurance in Utah, the market continues to be dominated by 1 large carrier. But physicians should not feel that they do not have a choice; there are plenty of good options for competitive rates with quality companies. Many physicians are turning to alternative types of coverage for more flexible options and lower rates. An independent broker should be able to provide quotes from several types of companies.
Over the past several years, Utah doctors have enjoyed a stable medical malpractice insurance market. In comparison to the rest of the country, the Utah medical liability insurance market has not had large swings in premium rates. Malpractice insurance premiums in Utah are determined by specialty and geographic area or county are not considered, which is unusual. This is probably due to the fact that most practitioners are concentrated in one metropolitan area. Overall this is a good state for physicians and surgeons to practice and there is no reason to think that the conditions will change any time soon.