The Most & Least Malpractice Suits by State

More bad news for America’s physicians: In 2015, medical malpractice lawsuit payout amounts rose for the third consecutive year.

“If people understood that doctors weren't divine, perhaps the odor of malpractice might diminish.” —Richard Selzer, MD

More bad news for America’s physicians: In 2015, medical malpractice lawsuit payout amounts rose for the third consecutive year.

The total for last year was nearly $4 billion, according to study by Diederich Healthcare, an Illinois medical malpractice insurance firm. That’s up more than 6% since 2013. So can a doctor reduce malpractice lawsuit fears? Move to Hawaii or get out of Louisiana.

Zippia, a California-based website that provides career information for professionals across various industries, recently used National Practitioner Data Bank statistics to calculate which of the nation’s 50 states had the most and least medical malpractice suits filed last year.

The 10 states with the most medical malpractice suits were: Louisiana (44.1 suits per 100,000 people in the state), Oklahoma, Delaware, Wyoming, Tennessee, Arkansas, New Jersey, Maine, West Virginia, and Alabama.

The 10 states with the fewest suits were: Hawaii (4.9 suits per 100,000 people in the state), North Carolina, Georgia, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, Utah, and Iowa.

To arrive at the best and worst states for this dreaded doctor demographic, Zippia “counted the number of malpractice suits in each state and then divided by the state's population to get all the data apples to apples. Then it multiplied every states' per capita rate by 100,000 to get the number of malpractice suits per 100,000 people in the state.”

“Dear doctors in Louisiana, We're sorry,” explains Chris Kolmar of Zippia. “Of all the states, it looks like you guys are dealing with the most flack—a whopping 44.1 malpractice suits per 100K residents. This, compared to say, Hawaii with just 4.9 suits per 100K is enough to send Louisiana docs into another, less dangerous profession. Crocodile wrestler, anyone?”

At present, there are about 3,700 practicing doctors in Hawaii and about 12,300 in Louisiana. According to Nolo.com, Louisiana has a $500,000 cap on the amount of compensation that a malpractice plaintiff can receive, but the costs of future medical care are not capped. In Hawaii, the payout limit is $375,000 but the cap does not apply to economic losses due to malpractice.