States with Largest Medical Malpractice Payouts

For nearly a decade medical malpractice payouts were on the decline, but 2013 broke the trend. Last year, medical malpractice payouts totaled $3.7 billion.

For nearly a decade medical malpractice payouts were on the decline, but 2013 broke the trend, according to new research. Last year, the total in medical malpractice payouts was $3.7 billion.

Total payouts in 2013 were $168 million more than they were in 2012—a 4.7% increase, according to new data compiled by Diederich Healthcare. According to the data (taken from the National Practitioner Data Bank) diagnosis remains the largest issue, accounting for 33% of payouts. This was followed by surgery (23%), treatment (18%) and obstetrics (10%).

According to the data, 96% of cases were settled. For the cases that went to judgment, the average payout amount was actually down by over $200,000.

Not only was the total payout amount more in 2013, but there was also a slight increase in the total number of payouts.

Pennsylvania and New York remain at the top of the list for most total payouts by state. New York had by far the highest per capita payouts at $38.83. In general states on the East Coast had the highest per capita payouts, while the states in the middle of the country had the lowest.

Despite the fact that New York still had the largest total medical malpractice payouts, according to Diederich, the state reported a decrease in payout amounts by $73 million—the largest decrease. Meanwhile, California reported a $51 million increase in payout amount, which was the most.

Three-quarters of the states reported that they paid out more than in 2012.

See the states with the most per capita payouts on the next page.

The top 10 states are exactly the same as last year, although the numbers did change slightly.

10. Illinois

2013 per capita: $15.64

2012: $15.57

Percent change: 0.45%

9. New Hampshire

2013 per capita: $16.99

2012: $17.02

Percent change: -0.18%

8. Rhode Island

2013 per capita: $17.40

2012: $17.35

Percent change: 0.29%

7. Maryland

2013 per capita: $19.27

2012: $19.40

Percent change: -0.67%

6. District of Columbia

2013 per capita: $19.31

2012: $19.71

Percent change: -2.01%

5. Connecticut

2013 per capita: $20.98

2012: $21.01

Percent change: -0.14%

4. Massachusetts

2013 per capita: $22.37

2012: $22.75

Percent change: -1.67%

3. New Jersey

2013 per capita: $23.24

2012: $23.31

Percent change: -0.3%

2. Pennsylvania

2013 per capita: $24.76

2012: $24.77

Percent change: -0.04%

1. New York

2013 per capita: $38.83

2012: $38.99

Percent change: -0.41%