According to the National Practitioner Data Bank public use file, the average medical malpractice settlement was $358,451 in 2018. The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) is a government repository of reports containing medical malpractice payments and information on health care providers who have faced adverse consequences. The entity, designed to protect patients, requires medical practitioners to report payments made for medical negligence claims.
An earlier study released in 2017 by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that average settlement amounts vary widely depending on the type of medical specialty or practice. Lawsuit settlement averages also depend on the state in which your claim is made. Your medical negligence claim may or may not yield the average medical malpractice settlement amounts provided.
Average Settlement by Field of Medicine
The average settlement for a medical malpractice lawsuit will vary by field of medical practice. A list of the average settlement numbers for 25 medical specialties is provided in the JAMA study. According to the study, the highest average settlement occurs in Neurosurgery malpractice claims. Interestingly, the lowest settlements occur in dermatology followed by cosmetic surgery.
The top 10 average settlements by field are listed below:
- Neurosurgery: $469,222
- Neurology: 431,049
- Obstetrician/Gynecology: $432,959
- Pediatrics: $413,974
- Pathology: $411,529
- Gastroenterology: $390,538
- Thoracic Surgery: $380,402
- Anesthesiology: $377,409
- Cardiology: $365,029
- Colon and Rectal Surgery: $337,976
The lowest three average settlements belong to the following medical practice areas:
- Dermatology: $189,065
- Plastic Surgery: $189,219
- General Practice: $231,622
There will also be some variation of your settlement based on the state according to NPDB information. For instance, Illinois, Maine, and Connecticut have the highest average payouts for medical malpractice claims with averages over $600,000. South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin had the lowest average settlements, giving victims under $200,000.
How Will My Settlement Amount Be Determined?
The medical malpractice settlement you receive will depend on the severity of your injuries, your injury-related expenses, the impact of your injuries and losses on your quality of life and psychological state, and any damage caps your state may have in place.
In personal injury cases, you are entitled to recover compensation for a variety of economic and non-economic losses.
Financial Compensation for Your Injury-Related Expenses
Economic damages cover financial expenses related to your medical malpractice injuries or illness. Economic losses that may be figured into your medical negligence settlement include:
- Present and future medical treatment
- Medical supplies and devices
- Psychological treatment or counseling
- Physical rehab
- At-home care
- Lost wages
- Reduced ability to earn
- Accessibility modifications for your home or car
- Replacement services for tasks you can no longer perform
- Other accident-related costs
Compensation for Pain and Suffering in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Non-economic damages are to compensate you for the hardships that the malpractice incident has left you with. This is more broadly referred to as pain and suffering and includes physical, emotional, or psychological pain and the general impact on your quality of life. Your non-economic losses may include many things, such as:
- Continuous or chronic pain
- Physical impairment
- Scars and disfigurement
- Amputated limbs
- Nerve damage
- Brain damage
- Debilitating illness
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced enjoyment of activities
- Emotional distress
- Psychological trauma
- Grief, fear, or depression
Wrongful Death Compensation
Family members of medical malpractice victims who have died may be able to file a claim for wrongful death. If the neglect of a physician or other medical practitioner caused your loved one’s death, you may be entitled to damages that include:
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of support
- Funeral or burial costs
- End-of-life care expenses
- Medical expenses
This is by no means an exhaustive list of damages. A medical malpractice lawyer can go over the type of damages that you may be able to recover in a wrongful death claim.
Non-Economic Damages Are Capped by States in Medical Malpractice Cases
In the majority of personal injury cases, non-economic damages typically increase the victim’s compensation by a high margin. The reason is that an accident victim could potentially suffer in a variety of ways that are by and large immeasurable. State governments know this.
In an effort to cut down on what they believe to be excessive amounts of money awarded in medical malpractice cases and the burden it places on medical providers, they generally put a cap on the non-economic damages a victim can recover. Maryland currently limits non-economic damages to $860,000. The limit increases by $15,000 every year, per Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 3-2A-09. Unfortunately, in many states, the cap is sometimes much less than a victim deserves for their pain and suffering.
Brown & Barron Is Dedicated To Helping You Recover the Compensation You Deserve
If you or a loved one are a victim of medical negligence, Brown & Barron, LLC can help. We are a law firm that is dedicated to medical malpractice and nursing home cases. An experienced Maryland medical malpractice lawyer on our team will conduct a thorough investigation into your case, gather evidence of your injuries and the health care provider’s fault, and file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf. The average settlement of a medical malpractice lawsuit may vary, but you can rest assured that the personal injury attorneys at our firm will demand and fight for every dollar that you deserve. Give us a call today to schedule a free case evaluation.