Nearly 2,500 physicians are now legally practicing medicine in Florida without insurance, according to the state.

After years of paying the highest malpractice rates in America, some doctors say their only option is to "go bare" and cancel their malpractice insurance (search) policies.

The doctors can legally do it by putting up some of their own money in case they're sued, while sheltering the rest of their assets from patients.

"It's a stopgap measure we've adopted in Florida, because we haven't had other options," said Amos Stoll, a neurosurgeon without insurance. "But I'm not telling the rest of the country this is a great thing — for everybody to 'go bare.'"

"It's the least attractive choice, probably," Stoll adds, "but it still allows us to practice."

Critics say "going bare" — which caps malpractice awards at $125,000 — keeps injured patients from collecting larger amounts when doctors are found liable.

"If they injure or maim people, they're pretty much protected," said medical malpractice attorney Marvin Kurzban. "We're taking a class of people that can well afford to pay for the injuries they cause and allowing them to escape the responsibility."

Most states don't require doctors to carry malpractice insurance. According to the American Medical Association (search), as rates continue to go up, "going bare" will become even more of an attractive alternative.

Click here to watch a fair and balanced report by Fox News' Orlando Salinas.