Medical Malpractice Uncovered
Which states have filed the most medical malpractice suits and what are the total costs?
Being involved in a serious and potentially fatal injury can be incredibly traumatic to a person’s mental wellbeing as well as their physical health. Now, imagine the ongoing stress and further suffering after receiving the incorrect treatment. Medical negligence is when an individual receives substandard care provided by a medical professional that has caused injury or caused an existing condition to worsen.
There are many ways that medical malpractice can occur, including misdiagnosis, poorly given treatment, or surgical mistakes. Unfortunately, it happens more commonly than you may think, and even in majorly developing cities that offer medical care for celebrities and the super-rich.
One of the most common cases of medical malpractice is when patients are prescribed the incorrect medication.
Right here in the US, many medical professionals have had to fork out millions of dollars to pay for medical malpractice reports filed by patients. It’s often the biggest threat facing doctors today, and it is a hugely debatable topic, because of the rising cost of medicine in the US. Some states were more prominent in just how many doctors were sued, and some lawsuits were a lot more costly to settle than others.
At NiceRx, we decided to explore which states have filed the most medical malpractice suits, and which have paid out the most against these suits. By looking at medical data over the last 10 years, we were able to explore this concept with a focus on modern-day medical malpractice.
The States That Filed the Most Medical Malpractice Reports
By delving into health data, we found that the states with the most medical malpractice reports filed in the last 10 years were geographically diverse. By considering each state’s population size, we were able to get an accurate result for the number of malpractice reports. Here are the states with the most medical malpractice reports:
1. New York
Reports Filed per 10,000 Residents: 19.03
The state of New York saw the highest number of lawsuits filed against doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals between 2012 and 2022. The state filed 15,951 medical malpractice reports over the 10-year period, a total of 19.03 reports per 10,000 residents.
All states have very specific deadlines for filing lawsuits, and in New York, a lawsuit for medical malpractice usually must be filed within two years and six months, but there are some instances which extend the standard lawsuit-filing deadline, for example, when the patient could not reasonably have learned that they had a viable medical malpractice case. In New York, the discovery rule is more limited than it is in other states.
Reports Filed per 10,000 Residents: 8.06
Georgia has the second-highest number of medical malpractice reports between 2012 and 2022. Georgia residents filed 2,994 lawsuits for medical negligence during the 10-year period, a total of 8.06 reports per 10,000 residents.
The general statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in Georgia is two years. There are exceptions to the rule, however, that can affect the time a patient has to file his or her claim.
3. New Jersey
Reports Filed per 10,000 Residents: 6.84
New Jersey was the third highest state for its number of medical malpractice reports over the 10-year period, with a total of 6,078 reports filed by patients, a total of 6.84 reports per 10,000 residents.
New Jersey courts use what’s known as the “discovery rule” in medical malpractice cases. Under this rule, the filing deadline is two years after you discovered, or could reasonably have been expected to discover, that a doctor or other health care provider could be responsible for your harm.
The States That Filed the Least Medical Malpractice Reports
These states filed the least reports in the last 10 years, which does not necessarily mean that medical malpractice is a less common occurrence for these states. The laws regarding malpractice could be more complex and winning a lawsuit could be a lengthier process.
Reports Filed per 10,000 Residents: 1.01
The state of Wisconsin has the lowest score for its medical malpractice lawsuits between 2012 and 2022, with just 588 reports filed during this time, a total of 1.01 reports filed per 10,000 residents. Wisconsin has a specific statute of limitations that states a patient injured by medical negligence has three years after the alleged negligence happened, to file a lawsuit in court.
Reports Filed per 10,000 Residents: 1.15
Minnesota had the second lowest score for its medical malpractice reports filed between 2012 and 2022, with 643 lawsuits counted during this period, a total of 1.15 reports filed per 10,000 residents.
In Minnesota, the standard deadline for filing a claim is four years from the date of the medical error. There is currently no cap on medical malpractice damages in Minnesota (including on compensation for things like pain and suffering), so an injured patient is free to recover for all financial losses that can be attributed to the defendant’s malpractice.
3. North Dakota
Reports Filed per 10,000 Residents: 1.32
North Dakota had the third lowest score for its medical malpractice reports filed during the year 10-year period, with 100 lawsuits filed during this period, a total of 1.32 reports filed per 10,000 residents.
North Dakota places a cap on the amount of compensation that is available to a plaintiff who has been successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit. There is a $500,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases, which include compensation for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the loss of enjoyment of life that result from the defendant’s medical malpractice.
The States with the Most Costly Medical Malpractice Reports
Now, we will move on to the US states with the priciest lawsuits filed against medical professionals for medical malpractice. We were able to find each state’s total costs during the period of 2012 – 2022.
Total Cost of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits ($M): $853,310,000.00
The state of Ohio saw the most expensive lawsuits out of all the US states during the 10-year period. The total cost of medical malpractice lawsuits in Ohio cost the medical industry over $853.3 million. Ohio has damage caps on medical malpractice lawsuits for non-economic injuries. These caps are; $250,000 per plaintiff or three times the economic damages, whichever is higher, and the maximum is $350,000 per patient and $500,000 per occurrence.
If a patient’s injuries are found to be “catastrophic” the damage limit is set at $500,000 per individual and $1 million per occurrence. The five most common medical malpractice cases are misdiagnosis, drug errors, delayed care, surgical mistakes and failure to obtain consent.
Total Cost of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits ($M): $798,350,000.00
Connecticut has the second most expensive lawsuits for medical malpractice in the US, with a total of $798.35 million over the 10-year period.
Connecticut doesn’t currently have a cap on the economic or non-economic damages that victims of medical malpractice can seek from lawsuits and injury claims. In some cases, punitive damages can also be awarded.
Total Cost of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits ($M): $724,960,000.00
Arizona is the state with the third most expensive lawsuits for medical malpractice in the US, with almost $725 million between 2012 and 2022.
Arizona does not place a cap on the amount of damages recoverable in a medical malpractice action. An article of the Arizona Constitution prohibits the enactment of any law limiting the damages one may recover for personal injury or death.
The States with the Least Costly Medical Malpractice Reports
We will now explore the US states with the least pricey lawsuits filed against medical professionals for medical malpractice.
Total Cost of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits ($M): $1,008,002.00
Maryland had the lowest cost of medical malpractice lawsuits between 2012 and 2022, with a total cost of $1.08 million. Maryland has enacted malpractice caps, setting a ceiling on the amount of money that can be recovered in a case. In Maryland,the laws on the licensing of physicians, physician assistants, nurses and other medical professionals do not require the purchase of medical professional liability insurance.
Total Cost of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits ($M): $1,052,210.00
Texas saw the second lowest medical malpractice lawsuits during the 10-year period, with the total cost amounting to $1.052 million. In Texas, malpractice payments are capped at $250,000 in cases against a single hospital or doctor and $500,000 in cases involving multiple defendants.
Total Cost of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits ($M): $1,281,450.00
Georgia had the third lowest costs for medical malpractice cases between 2012 and 2022, with the total costs accounting for $1.28 million. In Georgia, there is a $350,000 cap in place on non-economic damages in any single medical malpractice claim against health care providers.
We started by looking at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Data Analysis Tool to generate a data set for medical malpractice payment reports. To make the data more relevant to modern-day practice, we filtered the results from 2012 to 2022.
We were able to collect the reports for each state, and the total amounts of malpractice payments made by healthcare providers during the ten-year period. This data is accurate as of 06/10/2022.
We collected each state’s population size and were able to calculate the number of reports filed by the population, to get a more accurate representation of the number of medical malpractice reports. This data is accurate as of 19/10/2022.
We were able to rank each state by the total number of medical malpractice reports by population and the total costs of payments, to find the top-scoring states for both factors.