If you are selling medical malpractice insurance in Maryland, Maryland Insurance Code § 19-114 (2008) requires that you offer at a minimum, medical malpractice policies with deductibles of $25,000, $50,000, and $100,000.
We have a medical malpractice lawsuit pending against a doctor in Maryland who recently was found liable at trial in another case. The doctor has a high malpractice deductible and it was reported that no offer was made in the case.
I think our case is a great deal stronger than the one this doctor just lost, both on liability and on damages because, unlike his last case, we can put on the board damages that exceed the doctor’s policy limits of $1,000,000. That has to be a strong incentive for the doctor to encourage settlement because he has personal exposure to an excess verdict. Still, I would not be surprised if we end up trying the case because the doctor does not approve a settlement because he does not want to pay the deductible again.
Still, I think the idea of allowing doctors to carry high deductibles is a good thing even if it does make settling medical malpractice cases in Maryland more difficult. It allows good doctors that do not anticipate legitimate malpractice exposure to increase their risk in such a way that reduces their medical malpractice premiums while still providing protection for themselves and their patients.