There are more than 487,500 people working in healthcare sector in New Jersey. Health care is the only industry that has added jobs in the state every year from 1990 through 2019 while increasing its share of jobholding from 7.5% in 1990 to 12% in 2019. It is obviously a growing sector in the state. It is also under tight regulation. New Jersey is one of the 7 states that requires minimum malpractice insurance for physician practicing in the state, including visiting doctors. The good news is that many insurance companies offer medical malpractice insurance in New Jersey and here are our recommendations of the 6 best providers.
- Medical malpractice insurance laws in New Jersey
- What does medical malpractice insurance cover in New Jersey?
- What doesn’t it cover?
- How much does medical malpractice insurance cost in New Jersey?
- Claims made vs. Occurrence in New Jersey medical malpractice insurance
- The 6 best medical malpractice insurance companies in New Jersey
Medical malpractice insurance laws in New Jersey
Every state has specific laws surrounding medical malpractice claims, and New Jersey is no different. New Jersey is one of seven states that requires physicians to carry malpractice insurance, with a bare minimum of $1M/$3M in insurance. New Jersey is also one of the five states with the highest medical malpractice insurance costs.
They also have a strict two-year stature of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits. You must file within two years from the date of the injury. This goes for wrongful death lawsuits as well.
In some cases, the filing deadline is two years after you discovered the medical error. For example, if a doctor misreads a biopsy and pronounces you cancer-free but you actually do have cancer, you would discover this when someone else reads the initial biopsy and helps you discover the error or when you are actually diagnosed with cancer. From that point, you have 2 years to file your lawsuit.
If the patient was under the age of 18 at the time of the injury, they have until they turn 18 to file a lawsuit. If the child died as a result of the malpractice, there is the two-year statute of limitations you must comply with.
Interestingly, New Jersey does not have a cap limiting the amount of damages a victim can pursue. Punitive damages are limited to $350,000. You should keep in mind that punitive damages in a medical malpractice case are pretty rare—you would have to prove the doctor made a medical error on purpose and with malice. In other words, they set out to cause you harm.
Some notable malpractice cases in New Jersey include Ocasio v. Yeh, in which a five-year old boy went in for a tonsillectomy and suffered complications. Through a series of medical errors, he wound up having his right leg and his left big toe amputated. The case was settled for $12.5 million.
In another case (settled for $1.7 million) a family sued the midwife when the infant suffered a birth injury. And finally, a woman was awarded $318,000 when she claimed her plastic surgeon failed to provide her with appropriate care.
What does medical malpractice insurance cover in New Jersey?
Medical malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance for those in the medical field. It protects you if you make a mistake or neglected to perform a service. Medical malpractice insurance will cover your legal defense costs, plus any medical damages paid out to the client.
What doesn’t it cover?
Medical malpractice insurance does not cover:
- Intentional harm
- Illegal acts
- Sexual misconduct
- Errors on the part of the hospital administration
How much does medical malpractice insurance cost in New Jersey?
If you’re a doctor, how much you pay for malpractice insurance largely depends on your specialty. Certain specialties get sued far more often than others.
Anesthesiologists pay an average of $16,000 a year, whereas ob/gyn’s pay about $70,000 a year. A family practice physician that doesn’t perform surgery pays about $15,000 a year. Here’s a breakdown of medical malpractice insurance costs by specialty.
- Registered nurse: about $100 a year for $1M/$6M policy
- Psychiatrists: $5,000 annually
- Emergency medicine: $35,000
- Pediatrics (no surgery): $15,000
- Radiology: $19,000
It should be noted that only doctors are required to have malpractice insurance in New Jersey. Nurses, counselors, and other health care professionals may ask themselves why they would need malpractice insurance, when the hospital or clinic provides insurance. Keep in mind that your employer’s insurance protects your employer—not you, especially if protecting you is not in their best interest. You need your own malpractice insurance policy that would look out for you and only you.
Claims made vs. Occurrence in New Jersey medical malpractice insurance
When it comes to medical malpractice insurance, you have a choice between claims-made insurance or occurrence. Claims-made is less expensive, but it only covers you if the insurance policy was active at the time the lawsuit was filed. Occurrence is more expensive, but it will cover you for claims if the event took place anytime you had insurance, even if it’s months later.
You can get tail coverage, which extends the coverage of a claims-made policy to cover you for events that are reported after the policy has lapsed, for example, if you change jobs or retire. Tail coverage is expensive, but it’s better than being without coverage.
The 6 best medical malpractice insurance companies in New Jersey
Here are the 6 top medical malpractice insurance companies that we recommend for healthcare professionals in New Jersey:
- CoverWallet: Best for comparing quotes
- Nurses Service Organization: Best for nurses
- Gallagher: Best for flexible coverage
- Hiscox: Best for multiple policies
- The Doctors Company: Best for doctors
- HPSO: Best for therapists and counselors
CoverWallet: Best for comparing quotes
CoverWallet is a handy tool that enables you to compare quotes from two or more companies after filling out just one application. They work with many top companies and you can get quotes in less than ten minutes. Once your quotes are generated, you can buy a policy from them as well. Their partners are Chubb, Progressive, Liberty Mutual, CNA, AMTrust, Berkshire Hathaway, Hiscox and others.
This usually works well, with a quote generated within minutes, for many professionals and industries. However, when we tried to get a quote for a family doctor seeking malpractice insurance in New Jersey, they are not able to provide us a quote online. However, they contacted us within 5 minutes. The customer service associate is very friendly and knowledgeable. He was able to explain different nuances of malpractice insurance for a family doctor in New Jersey and allowed us to compare quotes from 3 providers.
Even the quotes are not available online, but it is due to the complex nature of the profession. CoverWallet was still able to help us compare 3 quotes on the phone to select the best and the cheapest one.
Nurses Service Organization: Best for nurses
NSO provides coverage for nurses and only nurses. This means they provide affordable malpractice insurance and can offer nurses the support they need if they are named in a lawsuit. Nursing students are eligible for 50% off. You can get a quote by just answering a few questions.
You won’t be able to get any other type of insurance, though, and they only cover nurses.
Gallagher: Best for flexible coverage
Gallagher is the largest malpractice brokerage firm. They work with over twenty different insurance companies, so they can get you the best rate. Their customers save between 20% and 50% on their insurance on average. They can customize your policy for specific circumstances, such as working in more than one state or providing tail or nose coverage.
To get a quote, you fill out a form and you’ll receive a quote within 24-48 hours.
Hiscox: Best for multiple policies
Hiscox offers online quoting, but in our case, we were told to call to finalize our quote. In general, Hiscox is fast and provides affordable quotes to small business owners. They have many types of business insurance, so if you need cyber security insurance or business auto insurance (if you’re a visiting nurse who drives to see clients, for example) Hiscox can cover you for that as well.
Policy limits for professional liability insurance (aka medical malpractice) range from $250,000 to $2 million.
The Doctors Company: Best for doctors
The Doctors Company is the largest physician-owned insurance company in the U.S. They hold over $6 billion in assets and have 80,000 members. They cover most specialties, and since they are doctors, you’ll have the support of like-minded people in your corner. They also provide risk management services so you can decrease your risk of getting sued in the first place. Many professional organizations, such as the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Surgeons endorse The Doctors Company.
HPSO: Best for therapists and counselors
HPSO stands for the Healthcare Providers Service Organization. It offers multiple discounts for those in professional organizations, such as the American Pharmacists Association and the American Counseling Association. They have provided coverage for over 96,000 counselors all across the country. They also offer 60% off discount for new grads.
Healthcare professionals have worked hard to get where they are. Protect yourself and your career by getting a malpractice insurance policy.