Fewer Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Succeed, But Payouts Are Up

CBS News
March 28, 2017

The rate of paid medical malpractice claims in the United States has declined significantly, dropping nearly 56 percent between 1992 and 2014, researchers report.

At the same time, the average payout for successful malpractice claims rose about 23 percent — topping $353,000 in 2009-2014, up from about $287,000 during the 1992-1996 period, the study found.

These two trends could reflect the influence of tort reform on malpractice lawsuits, said lead author Dr. Adam Schaffer, an instructor at Harvard Medical School.

Laws that limit, or cap, damage claims could make it tough to find an attorney to take on your case, resulting in fewer claims filed, Schaffer said.

“Fewer attorneys could be interested in taking claims if there’s going to be a smaller potential payout, given that most attorneys are paid on a contingency basis,” he explained.

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