2008 Medical Malpractice Report Released

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has released the 2008 Medical Malpractice Claims Report.  The report reveals data from medical malpractice cases settled and tried in Tennessee in calendar year 2007.

The numbers:

Total judgments for plaintiffs  

2004           6       

2005           5

2006           6       

2007           7

Total settlements                     

2004         444

2005         461

2006         453

2007         492

Cases Dismissed   With No Payment

2004        1916

2005        2361

2006        2514      

2007        2238  (plus another 306 claims dismissed on defense verdicts for a total of 2534)

Total settlement $                

2004   $108,000,000

2005    $119,000,000

2006   $100,000,000

2007    $126, 225,485  (this includes two settlements made after trial, one pursuant to a high-low agreement and one a traditional post-trial settlement.  The amounts of these settlements are not reported.)

Total judgment $              

2004   $1,950,00

2005    $6,100,00

2006     $4,950,000

2007    $9,533,574  (plus two settlements, one pursuant to a high-low agreement and one post-trial settlement.  The amount of these two settlements are unknown.  Of the judgments, three were $350,000 or less, one was $3,500,000 and one was $5,313,574.)

As mentioned above, there were two jury verdicts over $1,000,000 in medical malpractice cases in 2007.

The average settlement was $256,100 in 2007.  The average was $221,000 in 2006;  in 2005 it was $258,000.

The average attorneys’ fee received by claimant’s counsel in cases that were settled was 29.45%.  The average for cases that were tried was $32.12%.  

Thus, claimant’s lawyers were paid about $40,000,000 on cases settled or tried in 2007.  Defense lawyer fees paid during that same period were $66,485,000.     The total fees paid to defense counsel for cases closed in 2007 and claims  pending as of the end of the year (there are 5,541 pending claims) was $158,000,000.  This includes fees paid in previous years for those claims.  

In other words, defense counsel were paid 4 times the amount paid to plaintiffs’ counsel for claims resolved in 2007.  Obviously, defense costs were incurred for many claims for which plaintiffs’ counsel received no money (because the claims were unsuccessful).