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Medical Malpractice Payouts – The Facts


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    Medical Malpractice Payouts – The Facts

    Diederich Healthcare has completed its annual compilation of medical malpractice payouts report to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) is a federal data bank of information about health care providers in the United States and requires notice of any payout that follows a written demand of payment sent to a medical practitioner.

    Florida medical malpractice statistics

    Diederich Healthcare has designed a five-page infographic that visually interprets the data collected from 2001 – 2013, including charts and tables for total payout amounts by dollars, state, biggest changes, per capita amounts, settlements vs. judgments, patient type, and type of allegation.

    To view the entire infographic, click here.

    Medical Malpractice Statistics You Should Know

    In the year 2012, there were $3.6 billion in payouts for medical malpractice. That makes for 12, 142 total payouts, or once every 43 minutes. From 1998 to 2001, total medical malpractice payouts increased by 46 percent, but there has been a steady decline since 2003. In 2012, total payouts were 3.4 percent lower than in 2011. Additionally, the bulk of payments made came from settlements, which accounted for 93 percent of all payouts. Only 5 percent of payouts were made from judgments. The following are some more notable findings from the 2013 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis, done by Diederich Healthcare.

    Five states account for 48 percent of all payouts

    • New York: $763,088,250

    •  Pennsylvania: $316,167,500

    • California: $222,926,200

    • New Jersey: $206,668,250

    • Florida: $203,671,100

    Payouts by patient type

    • Inpatient: 45 percent

    • Outpatient: 41 percent

    • Both: 9 percent

    43 percent of all payouts were made to male patients

    • 16 percent – ages 0-19

    • 17 percent – ages 20-39

    • 39 percent – ages 40-59

    • 23 percent – ages 60-79

    • 3 percent – ages 80+

    57 percent of all payouts were made to female patients

    • 7 percent – ages 0-19

    • 27 percent – ages 20-39

    • 39 percent – ages 40-59

    • 19 percent – ages 60-79

    • 4 percent – ages 80+

    The severity of alleged injury in medical malpractice claims

    • Death: 31 percent

    • Significant permanent injury: 19 percent

    • Major permanent injury: 18 percent

    • Quadriplegic, brain damage, lifelong care: 12 percent

    • Minor permanent injury: 8 percent

    • Major temporary injury: 7 percent• Major temporary injury: 7 percent

    • Minor temporary injury: 3 percent

    • Emotional injury only: 1 percent

    • Insignificant injury: 0.4 percent

    Types of allegations medical malpractice claims

    • Related to diagnosis: 33 percent

    • Related to surgery: 24 percent

    • Related to treatment: 18 percent

    • Related to obstetrics: 11 percent

    • Related to medication: 4 percent

    • Related to monitoring: 3 percent

    • Related to anesthesia: 3 percent

    • Other: 4 percent

    Failure to diagnose accounted for 20 percent of all payouts. Diagnosis-related allegations had the largest percentage of payouts: a total of $1,176,345,550.

    Most Physicians will be Sued for Malpractice

    Also of note, a study by the New England journal of medicine found that most physicians will be sued for malpractice at least once before the age of 65. The incidence of medical malpractice lawsuits increases based on the risk involved with a physician’s specialty. For example, by age 65, 75 percent of “low-risk” specialties, such as pediatrics and family medicine, will be sued. Conversely, in the same time frame, 99 percent of “high-risk” specialties, such as surgery, will be sued. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, pediatricians and psychiatrists are the least likely to be sued; less than 30 percent have been sued, less than 10 percent sued twice.

    Medical Malpractice Settlement Amounts

    Some interesting statistics from the study include:

    • Most payouts (96% in 2013) take place from a settlement, as opposed to taking the case to trial.
    • There’s very little variation by state from one year to the next, but big variation among states.
    • The total number and amount of payouts rose in 2013 for the first time since 2003.

    Average Settlement for Medical Malpractice

    The report says, “ the high average settlement for medical malpractice figure is due to sampling bias — doctors presumably agree to settle cases where their negligence is more obvious and fight cases where they are more confident that they did nothing wrong. In part the high settlement figure is part of the moral hazard of insurance – doctors often tire of the emotional drain of a lawsuit, and signal a desire to settle (after all, the payout is insurers’ money and doesn’t come out of the physicians’ own pockets) – and insurers are loathed in many cases to make enemies of doctors, who could sue them for bad faith if a very bad verdict occurs at trial.”

    The Average Settlement For Surgery Malpractice

    The statistics are followed by some observations by the author. He states, “More work remains to be done here, obviously. There are so many questions to answer: How much under-reporting to the NPDB (whether legal or illegal) goes on? Is there a tradition of reporting in some states (New York?) but not in others? Why is New York so seemingly different from every other state? Do statutes inadvertently skew results? [South Carolina, for instance, mandates mediation before any average settlement for medical malpractice– some settlements that take place during that time might not be reported, as no “written demand” has necessarily taken place.] And, of course, per capita payout is not the same as per practitioner payout — some jurisdictions (perhaps DC, MD (Johns Hopkins), etc.) have a much greater concentration of practitioners serving out-of-state residents than do others, and this could skew results.

    Contact The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato for Legal help:

    The data is presented in various ways in order to address concerns with the collected information. For example, a few really big settlements or judgments could skew results, especially for smaller states. While the study certainly provides much-needed statistics and information regarding malpractice payouts, more analytical work needs to be done to better interpret the data. Contact the law offices of Wolf & Pravato and take the help of our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney for more information.


    What is the average payout for medical negligence?

    Medical malpractice refers to a preventable caused by a healthcare provider including a doctor, nurse, or facility due to negligence. The effect of this negligence can be small or result in an extended period of illness. If you have been through such a situation, you need to know the medical malpractice settlement in Florida. The average payout is usually $242,000 depending on the severity of your condition.

    How are malpractice settlements calculated?

    When you visit an attorney, he will calculate your damages based on special and general claims. 

    Special damages are those that involve your medical costs, financial losses, and lost wages. Also, if you are permanently disabled and cannot return to work, your loss of future earnings is included in special damages. Furthermore, if you lost a job from a disability your attorney will look at the loss of benefits including health insurance, sick leave pay, vacation and so more. 

    Secondly, general damages are usually hard to calculate as these include the severity of physical pain, mental suffering, and emotional turmoil suffered as you recover from your injuries or illness. The damages include your recovery time, medical procedures required for you to heal, and these affecting the quality of your life. 

    How long does it take to get a settlement for medical malpractice?

    The time required to get the settlement for medical malpractice depends on the complexity, the strength of your case as well as the bandwidth of the court of jurisdiction. Most medical malpractice cases end up settling out of court. However, these dolls require both sides to file a motion and go through the usual court process. In this scenario, a medical malpractice attorney works to strike a balance between getting an injured patient or their family members immediate help by making sure they get fair compensation. Often the case may be settled faster with a lesser amount of money. On the other hand, cases that win at trial end up getting greater layouts but these take several years before any money is paid. 

    Are medical malpractice cases hard to win?

    Yes, medical malpractice cases are difficult for patients to win. You will mostly come across plaintiffs because they were awarded after a successful medical malpractice lawsuit. However, you will rarely read about plaintiffs losing their cases at trial.  Most medical malpractice lawsuits result in defense verdicts that are doctor or health care provider winning the trial after the jury heard and considered the evidence. The biggest hurdles include:

    1. Proving that the doctor’s negligence caused the suffering of the patient
    2. Convincing the jury that the doctor was indeed wrong
    3. Finding a qualified lawyer who can present the case

    How do you know if you have a case of medical malpractice?

    Here are the signs that indicate that you have a case of medical malpractice: 

    • A doctor performed a procedure that a patient did not agree to and/or the doctor failed to sufficiently explain the risks and benefits of a treatment
    • A doctor prescribing a certain medication unaware of the history or allergies of the patient
    • Any surgery that resulted in untoward consequences including abdominal pain, fever, or other health issues.

    We also help the victims of medical malpractice in the following cities:

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