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Average Payouts in Medical Malpractice Claims Up in Recent Years

By Jack H. FarnbauchApril 19, 2017

According to a study of the National Practitioner Data Bank, a federally maintained database that tracks medical malpractice payments, the average payout for a medical malpractice claim has significantly risen. The study compared the years of 1992 through 1996 and the year of 2009 through 2014. The average payout for a successful malpractice claim rose about 23 percent — topping $353,000 in 2009-2014, up from about $287,000 during the 1992-1996 period, the study found.

Of more than 280,000 paid claims, about 8 percent topped $1 million in 2009-2014, and nearly one-third involved a patient death. Many states, including Indiana make the process very costly and time consuming to bring a medical malpractice suit, which results in many of the more minor medical malpractice incidents not being brought to court. 

Malpractice trends and payments varied widely among specialties. For example, payments for general practitioners increased about $17,400, but jumped $139,000 for pathologists, according to the report.Overall, the most common complaint was diagnostic error, the study authors found.

Also a trend when comparing these two time periods is that the top 1 percent of physicians with the most paid claims was responsible for about 8 percent of all paid claims. This trend shows that there are many repeat offenders when it comes to medical malpractice.  That it why it's so important for patients to do their research when looking at potential doctors.

You can read more here.