2012 Tennessee Medical Malpractice (Health Care Liability) Statistics – Part 2

More of our coverage of the 2013 Tennessee Health Care Liability Report issue by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance reflecting medical malpractice claims information for the year ending December 31, 2012.

As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, the total damages paid to claimants in 2012 was $90,520,000, for an average of $208,000 per claimant.  Here are the numbers for the previous four years.

Total Payments to Claimants
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
119,300,00 111,000,000 109,000,000 114,000,000 90,520,00

Thus, we see an almost 25% decline in the total dollars paid to claimants in the last five years.

This chart gives us an understanding of the severity of injuries in the claims paid in 2012:

Severity of Injury
Injury  Number Paid   Amount Paid
Death  124 $51,403,476
Major Temporary 72 $11,855,186
Minor Temporary 72 $5,436,395
Significant Permanent 23 $7,732,010
Insignificant 21 $338,185
Emotional Only 3 $103,804
Major Permanent 11 $4,116,000
Grave Permanent  13 $7,003,500
Minor Permanent  16 $1,222,309
     

 Now let’s add a few more columns of data to get a clear understanding of what is going on in the medical malpractice claims world in Tennessee:

Severity of Injury – Paid and Unpaid Claims Data – 2012
Injury Total Number of  Claims Paid Claims %  Paid    of Total Claims Unpaid Claims  % Unpaid of Total Claims Total Claim Payments Average Amount Per Paid Claim
Death  549  124  23%  335  77%  $51,403,476  $414,544
Major Temporary  277  72  26%  205  74% $11,855,186   $164,655
Minor Temporary  263  72  27%  191  73% $5,436,395   $75,505
Significant Permanent  128  23 18%  105   82%  $7,732,010  $336,174
Insignificant  90  21 23%   69  77%  $338,185  $16,104
Emotional Only  88  3  3%  85  97%  $103,804  $34,601
Major Permanent 67   11  16%  56  84%  $4,116,000 $374,182 
Grave Permanent  63  13  21%  50  79%  $7,003.500  $538,731
Minor Permanent  52  16  31%  36  69%  $1,222,309  $76,394

Let this data be a warning to inexperienced medical malpractice lawyers:  severe injury and death do not result in settlements or judgments.   More than 70% of the time allegations involving that type of injury result in no payment whatsoever to the claimant.  

The average settlement of per claim data on some of these categories is quite a surprise.  To be sure, some number of cases involve two or more claims, and thus the settlement or judgment would tend to be higher.  But, still, the numbers here are lower than I would expect.

There will be more data in the our next post, Tennessee Medical Malpractice (Health Care Liability) Statistics – Part 3.