Medical malpractice cases include claims against healthcare providers who are making a mistake or were negligent while providing care to a patient. A claim can range from negligent to severe negligence for cases that lead to death or a serious complication. These cases can be life altering for many of the victims. Payouts/settlements are agreed upon after deliberation between the victim’s lawyer and the representatives of the healthcare provider’s insurance company.
Settlements Vs. Trial
According to the National Practitioner Data Bank or NPDB, over 96% of all medical malpractice cases will end as a settlement, before ever reaching a trial. NPDB says that from the data they have collected it is apparent that most healthcare providers prefer to settle a case outside of court for a range of reasons. These include the fact that the physician doesn’t have a good chance of winning the case because they did make a mistake and most physicians do not want to deal with the long and drawn out legal battles. The companies that provide insurance for practicing healthcare providers can also sue the physician for bad faith if they were involved in a grossly negligent malpractice suit.
The amount of each payout can be difficult to compare between states. Many states have laws that aim to protect the plaintiff or the defendant and set payment caps. Currently, there is not much correlation between state legislation, the size of state or number of cases in regards to the amount payouts total. Maryland is in the top 5 states in terms of medical malpractice payouts per capita. Maryland’s total payouts for medical malpractice totaled $91 million in 2014 for 308 payouts.