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Malpractice Suit Rates and Awards in Decline


The newest report on medical malpractice suits in America by the Journal of the American Medical Association claimed what many have been recognizing for nearly a decade: the frequency, and award amounts, of medical malpractice suits are in sharp decline. The report, which collected data from 2002, took information from five different states and estimated that paid claims decreased from 18.6 to less than 10 claims per 1,000 doctors.

In these states, compensation also fell. Since 2007, compensation rates consistently declined by 1.1% every year. The average compensation for a successful medical malpractice suit is now estimated to be approximately $195,000.

The report offers several reasons for the continued decline, including various reforms:

  • Malpractice apology laws
  • Communication-and-resolution programs
  • Pre-suit notifications

The Future of Medical Malpractice Suits

It’s difficult to forecast any legal trend, but the steady decline of medical malpractice suits have been documented for over 10 years now. Further entrenchment of this change is being implemented by insurance companies: liability premiums in many medical professions in these states have plummeted, particularly for surgeons. That means that even when there is a legitimate and successful malpractice claim, there may be less compensation to recover.

But this decline doesn’t mean that malpractice suits can’t be successful or shouldn’t be pursued. It’s still estimated that in 2013, nearly 10,000 malpractice suits were found to be in the favor of the patient with compensation awarded. While malpractice and insurance reform stands to benefit a great many of us, they cannot totally replace the powerful stance a patient and their loved ones can take when undue harm has been inflicted by a medical professional.

If you believe you’ve suffered due to the negligence of a medical professional, then you need to speak to a knowledgeable Washington, D.C. medical malpractice attorney. Contact us at The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson M.D., J.D. & Associates today!

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