On behalf of Smiley & Smiley, LLP posted in Medical Malpractice on Thursday, April 17, 2014.
Over the past several decades, a great deal of controversy has erupted over the subject of medical malpractice payouts. From payouts in the tens of millions to paltry payouts for debilitating injuries, both large and small payouts have inspired passionate debate.
One of the best sources of information that the lawmakers, physicians and the public have access to on the current state of medical malpractice payouts is an annual compilation of data reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank. The actual analysis of the data is published by Diedreich Healthcare. Though certain kinds of payout data are excluded from the NPDB, the majority of payouts are reported to the NPDB.
This year’s data compilation indicates some interesting trends in American medical malpractice payouts. For example, the data suggests that more than 95 percent of all payouts result from settlements. This means that nearly all medical malpractice payout claims are paid without a trial verdict having been rendered.
This information should help to soothe the nerves of medical malpractice victims who may be hesitant to reach out to an attorney for help because they are anxious about having to weather a lengthy and emotionally demanding trial. Though some medical malpractice claims do need to be litigated and some are litigated until a verdict is rendered, the vast majority of claims are settled prior to this point.
It is also worth noting that 2013 marked the first year in a decade that both medical malpractice payout amounts and the total number of claims rose rather than declined. This reversal indicates that the legal system is becoming increasingly favorable to victims who rightfully deserve to be compensated for the harm that has been done to them.
Source: Forbes, “The Puzzle of Medical Malpractice Payouts,” Michael Krauss, March 27, 2014
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