Doug / 09-30-2011 / Insurance Claim Disputes

Study Finds Low Rate of Medical Malpractice Claim Payouts

According to the American Association for Justice, a study has found that less than a quarter of the claims that doctors filed with an insurer seeking coverage for medical malpractice liability resulted in payments to those alleging harm. The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine said the low rate of payments shows that the insurers deny far more claims than they pay.

The study said that only one of every five medical malpractice cases ends in financial transfer, whether through a settlement or jury award. About one in fourteen doctors are named each year in medical malpractice claims and every surgeon faces a chance of at least one malpractice claim within their lifetime. The study sifted through data on 41,000 doctors between 1991 and 2005, provided by an anonymous insurer which covers 3% of American doctors and spreads through all 50 states.

The study also found that neurosurgeons and heart surgeons were sued 19% of the time on the high end and pediatricians and psychiatrist faced 3% of lawsuits of the time on the low end. The low rate of payments shows that insurers deny far more claims and contradicts medical malpractice reform arguments.

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