Medical Malpractice Claims Have Decreased, but Payouts Have Increased

According to recent statistics, the number of medical malpractice claims has significantly dropped, but the case management expenses and payments for the claims have, on average, continued to increase. Between 2007 and 2016, the rate of medical malpractice claims decreased 27% from 5.1 claims per 100 doctors to 3.7 cases. The study analyzed claims that affected 124,000 patients over a 10-year period.

The report stated that although this trend signals a dramatic decrease in a doctor’s risk of being named in a medical malpractice claim, there was no single factor that appeared to be the cause of the across-the-board reduction. Experts do believe, however, that improved patient safety, changes in the lawsuit tort environment, and increased financial risk for a plaintiff’s attorney are the at least part of the cause.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Claims

Doctors and medical practitioners in the obstetrics and gynecology field tend to have the highest claim rates of all physicians. Even this specialty saw a dramatic decrease over the 10-year study period. Lawsuits and claims for medical malpractice declined 44% to 5.1 claims per 100 doctors.

The report stated that training for the labor and delivery teams, as well as increased communication during labor and delivery likely contributed to the decrease in medical malpractice claims. However, the report also highlighted trends related to increased costs for managing such claims. The average case management for medical malpractice claims increased 3.5% to approximately $46,000 per case.

Cases that have multiple defendants and policy limit stacking often require individual legal representation, which results in this increase of fees. Additional defense tools such as computerized renderings, mock trials, witness preparation, and jury studies can also increase the costs of the claims.

Increased Indemnity Payments

Although the cases have decreased in number and increased in costs for the defendants in a claim, the average indemnity payments for the plaintiff in a case rose 3% per year to a payout of $360,000, which has outpaced the consumer price index. Severe injuries such as permanent disability or death are 41% more likely to lead to higher indemnity payouts than other types of claims. The average time to resolve claims for medical malpractice has also decreased from 29 months to 27 months, making even more good news for those injured in medical malpractice claims.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or your loved one has suffered injuries or death at the hands of a physician or other medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss. Depending on the severity of your injuries or loss, you may be entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and much more.

The attorneys at Newland & Newland, LLP have years of experience helping their clients recover after being injured by a negligent medical professional. While we cannot change what happened, we can ensure that you are compensated for the losses that you have suffered so that you do not have to suffer financially due to someone else’s negligence. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca.

(image courtesy of Hush Naidoo)

  • Newland & Newland LLP, Attorneys, Arlington Heights, IL
  • Lawyer.com