Connecticut rates number two among states in the country with the highest predicted medical liability payments in surgery cases performed by physicians or medical residents. Illinois ranked number one. The information was printed by AmedNews, an online publication of the American Medical Association.

A study was conducted by a group of investigators examining the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) for the years 1990 to 2006. The study looked at how much was paid both in court by juries and out of court through settlements. Study authors found that when inflation was taken into account, the average medical liability payment in the country was $262,727.

The study found that patient outcomes projected the size of the settlement more than any other parameter.

Physicians in states with the most lax tort reform laws pay the highest jury awards and settlements, said Dr. Steven Fleishman an obstetrician-gynecologist who is council chairman of the Connecticut Medical Society.

When they analyzed their data from the NPDB, the investigators accounted for differences among patients in regards to age, gender, liability allegation and outcome.

State trends were shown to be highest in Illinois, where they were most likely to top many millions of dollars. Connecticut, with the next to the highest ranking, was predicted to have claims above  one million dollars, followed by Wisconsin which was lower than Connecticut but also was predicted to have claims that surpassed one million dollars.

States with the lowest predicted payments for claims (the least likely to have $1 million or higher) were Kansas, Michigan and Texas.

The AmedNews article said that the states that had the lowest claims for liability usually had stronger tort reform laws. Both Kansas and Texas cap noneconomic damages at $250,000.

Nearly all payments were made by insurance companies, with the states picking up the balance. In addition, most patients’ claims were determined out of court. Only 4 percent went on to settlement by a formal court judgment.

Sources:

http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/10/22/prl11022.htm#relatedcontent

http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/10/29/prsb1029.htm#top

To speak with a medical malpractice lawyer in Connecticut, contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC.