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Cyclical Nature of Medical Malpractice Payouts

Illinois Medical Malpractice Attorneys

According to data published by Diederich HealthCare, a leading nationwide medical malpractice insurance provider, its medical malpractice payouts and related legal claims have been declining steadily since 2003.

Furthermore, payouts were 3.4 percent lower in 2012 than 2011, despite the fact that medical care costs – which compose much of the damage portion of many malpractice claims – continued to accelerate at more than 10 percent per year.

These statistics demonstrate that, contrary to popular belief, it is getting harder to recover money for medical errors through the court system as juries grow increasingly skeptical of medical malpractice claims.

Furthermore, nearly one third of the payouts reported by Diederich involved death claims, and more than 80 percent involved death, very significant permanent injuries or quadriplegia, showing that payouts for more common injuries are rather infrequent and not easy to obtain.

Also, while doctors often complain that litigation is driving up the insurance cost of obstetrics and anesthesia practice, the actual payouts on claims related to those practices composed only 11 percent and 3 percent of payouts by the insurer. The vast majority of payouts – roughly 75 percent of them – were for failures to diagnose conditions, botched surgeries, or prescribed treatment that was incorrect or ineffective.

Only five percent of all payouts were for judgments (most being for settlements without a trial) because it is expensive and difficult to get to trial, and the fact is that juries find for doctors in the overwhelming majority of cases that go to trial.

It is also interesting to note that the nationwide insurer reported that just five states were responsible for nearly half of all payouts (CA, FL, NJ, NY, and PA) with Illinois not being one of them (although Illinois did rank 10th in per capita payouts).

The fact is that medical malpractice claims are among the most complex and difficult claims to bring in court, and they require skillful advocacy from the very start of a claim through verdict or negotiated settlement.

If you think that you or a loved one may have been adversely affected by potential medical malpractice, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to speak with one of our highly skilled and qualified medical malpractice attorneys. We can advise you about well-known and underpublicized malpractice issues that may have played a role in your injuries, and we can provide you with counsel regarding protection and vindication of your rights. You can also check out our Website for more information about our law firm, Cogan & Power, P.C.