What is the Average Payout for Medical Malpractice?

| Updated on February 28, 2024

There is no set answer to the question, and an average is almost impossible to figure out on the awarded amount on medical malpractice cases. Since the responsibility relies on the doctor’s care and the hospital staff, the awarded amounts can range from the hundreds of thousands to up as high as millions of dollars. The bottom line is that every situation and case is different. Several things will be investigated if the injuries were caused by medical malpractice. Some of these are if the patient died, how badly the patient was injured, whether the injuries or death occurred due to negligence, the diagnoses, and more. The scenarios will determine the awarded amount.   

What is Medical Malpractice?

If a person believes they are a victim of medical malpractice, then the most common factors used to determine whether or not malpractice has occurred are: did the doctor adhere to the generally accepted practices in that medical field? Did they order the appropriate tests? Did they properly diagnose the illness? And lastly, did the doctor acceptably treat the patient? The courts use their discretion when awarding damages to provide no definitive answer. However, it is crucial to understand that you could be owed significant compensation for your injuries if you suffered due to medical negligence.

When most people think of medical malpractice, doctors make mistakes. In reality, it is not just doctors who can be held liable for malpractice but also nurses, pharmacists, anesthesiologists, and any other medical team member. Suppose you have been injured due to carelessness or negligence by a healthcare professional. In that case, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim and receive compensation for your injuries.

You should know a few things about medical malpractice claims before you decide if filing one is right for you. First and foremost, it is crucial to understand that medical malpractice cases are very complex and can be challenging to win. You will need to prove that the healthcare professional in question acted negligently and that their negligence resulted in your injuries. Additionally, you will need to show that you suffered damage due to those injuries. Damages can include lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and much more.

If you believe you have a medical malpractice case, the first step is to speak with a qualified attorney specializing in this area of law. They will be able to review your case and let you know if you have a valid claim. If you do have a claim, they will help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Examples of Previous Payouts

Naturally, the ultimate payouts will come if death occurs to the patient. These could range in the millions of dollars. Some states have different laws to accommodate the victims, while in other states, it takes a lengthy investigation and court battles of going back and forth before anything is paid out. It is essential to understand that these are not easily cut and dry cases. The medical boards stick together, and many have been found negligent while others slipped through the judicial cracks. These are a few examples of cases and the amounts awarded in a few states where medical malpractice landed in courts.

In one case, $1.265 million was awarded to the family of a 38-year-old man who died from heart failure after his doctor failed to treat him for an irregular heartbeat properly.

In another case, a jury awarded $700,000 to the family of a woman who died after her doctor failed to diagnose and treat her cancer correctly.

A third case resulted in a $3 million payout to the family of a man who was paralyzed after his doctor failed to treat his infection correctly.

Lastly, a fourth case saw a $5.5 million payout to the family of a woman who died after her doctor failed to monitor her during surgery properly.

As you can see, even though these cases all had different circumstances, they all resulted in substantial payouts for the victims’ families. Also listed below are four cases where medical malpractice slipped through the judicial cracks, and the victim walked away with nothing for their pain and suffering.

Examples of Those Who Lost Their Cases of Medical Malpractice

In one case, a woman who was left paralyzed after her doctor failed to treat her infection properly was denied compensation by the court.

In another case, a man who died after his doctor failed to diagnose and treat his cancer properly was also denied compensation by the court.

A third case involved a woman who died after her doctor failed to monitor her during surgery properly. The court ruled that the doctor was not liable for her death.

Lastly, a fourth case saw a man paralyzed after his doctor failed to properly treat his infection walk away with nothing after the court ruled in favor of the doctor.

As you can see, winning a medical malpractice case is not easy. You will need a strong case and be prepared to fight for the compensation you deserve. If you are injured due to a healthcare professional’s negligence, it is crucial to speak with an attorney who is experienced and can help you navigate the legal process.

The Right Attorney

In the cases mentioned above, the reality shows that not everyone is guaranteed court victory. The factor of winning or losing your case is determined by one primary factor; finding the right attorney. Most of the cases garnered large payouts for the victims who had powerhouse law firms representing them. Cases that have slipped through the cracks had an inexperienced or solo practitioner representing the family.

The takeaway is this; finding the right attorney is essential to winning your medical malpractice case. If you are considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, be sure to speak with a qualified attorney who specializes in this area of law. They will be able to navigate the complex legal process, build a strong case on your behalf, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Look for years of experience, accommodation, education, track record of winning, and how they make you feel. If you don’t have the stomach to fight with them, they aren’t the right fit.

It is essential to do your research to find the right attorney for your medical malpractice case. Not all attorneys are created equal, and not every law firm has the experience or resources necessary to win a medical malpractice lawsuit. It is always essential to remember they are fighting for you and what they do for you determines if you win or lose and how much you are awarded.

What are Examples of Medical Malpractice?

These forms of medical malpractice happen when a healthcare professional neglects their obligations expected in their field, and as a result, a patient is physically hurt or worse. This is the reason you should know before starting with your medical practice. While there are many different types of medical malpractice, some common include:

  • Delayed or Missed diagnosis: A doctor fails to diagnose a condition correctly or does not promptly diagnose it. This can be devastating for patients if their condition progresses without treatment.
  • Birth injuries can happen when a doctor or other healthcare professional makes errors during childbirth, leading to severe injuries for both the mother and child.
  • Surgical errors: Surgery is always risky, but the results can be catastrophic when surgeons make mistakes. This includes operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical instruments in a patient’s body, or performing surgery on the wrong person.

Prescription errors can include:

  • Giving patients the wrong medication.
  • Prescribing incorrect doses of medication.
  • Not checking for potential drug interactions.

All of these mistakes can have severe consequences for patients.

There are many other types of medical malpractice, but these are some of the most common. If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed due to medical malpractice, it is crucial to speak to an attorney. The average payout for medical malpractice cases is more than $400,000, so it is vital to get started on your claim as soon as possible.

What Happens to Those Found Guilty of Medical Malpractice?

A few different things can happen to those found guilty of medical malpractice. In some cases, the healthcare professional may be required to pay a fine. In other cases, they may have their medical license revoked or suspended, and in severe cases, they may even face jail time.

What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?

Medical malpractice insurance is insurance that healthcare professionals purchase to protect themselves from lawsuits. This type of insurance can help cover the costs of legal fees and settlements if they are sued for medical malpractice.

How Much Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cost?

The cost of medical malpractice insurance varies depending on the healthcare professional’s specialty and location. It is not uncommon for doctors to pay $15,000 or more per year for this type of insurance.

What Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cover?

Medical malpractice insurance typically covers the costs of legal fees and settlements. In some cases, it may also cover the cost of damages if the healthcare professional is found guilty of medical malpractice.

Can Healthcare Professionals Continue Practicing After a Claim is Filed Against Them?

Healthcare professionals can continue practicing after a claim is filed against them in most cases. However, their medical license may be suspended or revoked in some cases.

Proving Negligence or Medical Malpractice

If the victim were injured or died under medical care, the attorney would work to prove negligence or medical malpractice. The attorney will look at the steps leading up to the injury or death and try to identify where things went wrong. This may require interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, and consulting with experts. Once negligence or medical malpractice has been established, the attorney will work to recover compensation for the victim’s injuries or wrongful death. This compensation may come from the doctor, hospital, or insurance company responsible for the victim’s care. The amount of payment depends on many factors, including the severity of the injuries, the cost of medical treatment, and the loss of income suffered by the victim’s family. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the responsible party and deter others from engaging in similar behavior.

Should I Hire an Attorney?

To go up against the medical field, you may ask if you should even attempt to go up against them. Here are some ideas to consider if you should or should not hire an attorney.

The first thing you should do is consult with an attorney specializing in medical malpractice law. Many people choose not to do this, thinking that they can save some money by going it alone or using a general practice attorney. This is generally not a good idea.

You will likely be opposed by attorneys who work for the hospital or doctor you are suing. They will have extensive experience and resources at their disposal. In addition, the insurance company that provides coverage to the hospital or doctor will also have lawyers working on the case.

You need someone on your side who knows the ins and outs of medical malpractice law and will level the playing field against the attorneys you will be up against.

What is the Average Amount Awarded?

The average payout for medical malpractice varies depending on the severity of the injuries suffered by the victim. Death cases typically have the highest payouts, followed by cases involving severe, permanent injuries.

According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, the average payout for medical malpractice cases in 2016 was $341,539. The median payout was $250,000.

The study also found that payouts varied widely from state to state. New York had the highest average payout at $664,028. Louisiana had the lowest average payout at $51,649.

We can only go by the previous years and statistics, but we find the amount is substantially higher than the earlier years and continues to go up. There should be the idea that these are only averages, and some people may find themselves with millions of dollars, primarily if the death of a loved one occurs.

Why is Negligence a Huge Factor in Medical Malpractice Cases?

Negligence is the keyword that attorneys love. If negligence is involved, their case is easy to prove. Some examples of negligence in medical malpractice are:

  • A doctor prescribing the wrong medication or dosage
  • A surgeon leaving a foreign object inside a patient’s body
  • A nurse failing to monitor a patient’s vital signs properly
  • A hospital staff failing to properly clean equipment

These are only a few examples, but you get the idea. If the injury or death of a loved one was caused by the negligence of a medical professional, you might have a case for medical malpractice.

What Should I Do if I Think I Have a Case?

If you think you may have a case for medical malpractice, the first thing you should do is consult with an experienced attorney. They will be able to review your case and let you know if you have a viable claim.

If you decide to pursue a case, the attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf and begin to build a claim against the hospital or doctor. This is a long process that can take several years to resolve. 

It is important to remember that you are up against experienced attorneys who work for the hospital or doctor. You need an experienced attorney on your side who knows how to win these cases.

When it comes to medical malpractice, negligence is usually one of the critical factors involved in winning a case. This is because if an injury or death was caused by negligence on the part of a medical professional, it is much easier to prove that it was not simply a coincidence.

Strategic Tactics Used By Experienced Attorneys to Win a Medical Malpractice Case

There are a few strategic tactics that experienced attorneys use to win medical malpractice cases. If you notice your attorney is not using these tactics, then it is best to find another who will because these are the basics that most of them use.

  1. Reviewing past cases: One of the first things an attorney will do is review past cases that the courts have decided. This helps them see what arguments have successfully won medical malpractice cases and which have not.
  2. Investigating the facts: The attorney will also explore the facts of your case to see if there is anything that can be used to prove negligence on the part of the hospital or doctor. This may include interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, and hiring expert witnesses.
  3. Filing a lawsuit: Once the attorney has gathered enough evidence, they will file a lawsuit on your behalf. This will start the process of taking the hospital or doctor to court.
  4. Negotiating a settlement: The hospital or doctor will want to negotiate a settlement rather than a trial in many cases. The attorney will work with you to develop a fair settlement that will cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
  5. Going to trial: If the hospital or doctor refuses to negotiate a settlement, the attorney will take the case to trial. They will present the evidence in the most likely way to win your case.

Medical Malpractice Insurance and How It Works in the Victim’s Favor

All doctors and hospitals must have insurance called Medical Malpractice Insurance. This covers them the same way all insurance covers the expenses after the deductible is met. When a claim is filed concerning medical malpractice, a settlement will always try to be reached in an attempt to make the case go to court. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will be in court.

A common tactic used by insurance companies is to offer a low-ball sum as a settlement very early in the process to save on their payout. If you or a loved one has suffered due to medical malpractice, it is vital that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to help you navigate this process and fight for the compensation you deserve. It is critical to let the attorney handle all the negotiations so that the most will be paid out and, hopefully, avoid years of courtroom fights.

Do What the Attorney Advises You To Do

Many people think that they can negotiate a better settlement on their own than what an attorney may be able to. This is often not the case. The insurance company knows when someone acts without legal representation and will take advantage of this fact. Remember, the insurance company’s goal is to pay out as little as possible. Listen to your attorney!

Aaron Harris


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