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Malpractice Lawyers Share Data on Malpractice Payouts

One in 14 physicians face a medical malpractice claim every year.

A doctor worried about a malpractice lawyerStatistics published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reveal that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Based on this information, it is not surprising that one in 14 physicians face a medical malpractice claim every year. This represents approximately 7.5 percent of all doctors practicing in the United States.

Over $36 billion in medical malpractice awards and settlements are paid out every year.

According to information collected by the National Practitioner Data Bank, over 12,000 medical malpractice payouts are issued every year. This amounts to approximately one medical malpractice payout every 43 minutes. The majority of payouts, approximately 90 percent, result from an out of court settlement. The remainder are monetary judgments awarded during litigation. The average payout in a medical malpractice lawsuit is $275,000. In total, these payouts amount to over $36 billion annually.

One third of all medical malpractice payouts involve allegations of negligence regarding the patient’s diagnosis. About one quarter are related to surgical complications. Nearly 20 percent are related to the patient’s course of treatment. And just over 10 percent involve obstetric care.

The more severe the injury caused by medical negligence, the greater the likelihood of receiving a medical malpractice payout. For instance, nearly one third of claims where medical negligence was fatal result in a medical malpractice payout. In addition, about 20 percent of medical malpractice claims which involve permanent injury receive a medical malpractice payout. Also, over 10 percent of medical malpractice claims which allege injuries requiring lifelong care receive medical malpractice payouts.

Medical malpractice payouts are often paid by a healthcare provider’s medical malpractice insurance carrier.

Often, a healthcare provider who is facing allegations of medical malpractice does not bear the cost of litigation or pay a judgment or settlement amount out of pocket. Rather, most healthcare providers and their employers carry medical malpractice insurance which cover some or all of these costs. According to the American Medical Association’s Advocacy Resource Center, at least seven states have laws which require physicians to carry medical malpractice insurance. Several states do not have a blanket law mandating physicians to carry medical malpractice insurance, but require physicians to carry medical malpractice insurance in order to qualify for caps on damages in medical malpractice cases, and to take advantage of other liability reforms. Physicians may also be required to retain medical malpractice insurance in order to work at a particular hospital or to participate in specific healthcare plans.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a healthcare provider’s medical negligence, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case and determine whether you have a viable medical malpractice claim. If so, your attorney can provide you with advice and guidance regarding the best way to receive compensation for your injuries and losses.