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Medical malpractice payouts show increase in 2013

In a review of 2013 medical malpractice payouts for the country, Diederich Healthcare notes that payouts increased overall for the first time since 2003. The statistics also included information about the top states for medical malpractice settlements and payouts for the year, and New Jersey was among the top five states.

According to Becker's Hospital Review, the Diederick report stated that the total dollars paid out in 2013 for medical malpractice claims was $3,733,678,100. That represented a 4.7 percent increase from 2012. Payments were higher for inpatient-related cases; around 45 percent of all payments related to inpatient cases with 38 pertaining to outpatient issues.

Claims were divided by the type of allegation brought by plaintiffs. Around a third of 2013 medical malpractice payments related to cases involving an allegation of diagnosis error. Other types of cases that represented significant percentages of the payout total include those involving alleged treatment errors or surgery errors.

According to the report, 38 of 50 states saw an increase in medical malpractice payments in 2013 when compared to 2012. New Jersey itself saw payouts of $23.24 per capita, making it the third state in the country for payout levels.

The fact that payouts increased in 2013 doesn't necessarily indicate more errors by medical practitioners. Payout totals are determined by cases settled or adjudicated each year as well as the damages awarded to plaintiffs. Regardless of trends in medical payouts each year, individuals who feel they have suffered injury due to the negligence or error of a medical provider always have a right to seek options for compensation of expenses associated with such injuries.

Source: Becker's Hospital Review, "Medical Malpractice in America: 15 Latest Statistics" Jan. 04, 2015

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