2017 Tennessee Health Care Liability Statistics – Part 1

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has released the 2018 Tennessee Health Care Liability Claims Report (“Report”).  The 2018 Report was released in 2019 but contains data for 2017.   The Report is required as a result of legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2004.

Some 1589 claims against Tennessee health care providers were closed in 2017.  Of those, 1242 (78.6%) were claims closed other than as the result of judgment, settlement or ADR.

Some 33 claims (2.08%) were closed as a result of judgment, 8 of which were defense verdicts in prior years but affirmed on appeal in 2017.  A total of 253 cases (15.92%) were settled, and another 61 (3.84%) were resolved via ADR.  (Do not ask me why these numbers are kept separately or whether they are accurate.)

The report explains that of the 1589 claims that were closed, 1264 (79.55%) were closed with no payment and money was paid in 325 cases (20.45%).  (Don’t ask me to explain how the difference between the 1242 number given above and the 1264 number given above.  The Report doesn’t explain what happened to those 22 claims.)

The total amount of money paid in those cases where there was a payment was $79,964,969, or a little over $264,000 per case.

In all, it was reported that there were 27 court judgments in 2017. It was reported that 23 of these judgments resulted in a judgment for the defendant and no damages were awarded to the claimant; however, eight of these judgments were appealed with no final results in 2017. Four judgments were entered in favor of the plaintiff in 2017. One of these judgments was appealed with no final results in 2017.   I cannot tell from the report how much was awarded in the cases where the plaintiff was recorded a judgment; the numbers simply make no sense.

Over $78,000,000 was paid to defend cases in 2017, about $70,500,000 of which went to defense counsel.  Some $220,000,000 was paid for defense costs during the history of the cases closed in 2017.   Assuming the successful plaintiff’s lawyers earned a one-third fee on the successful cases, the plaintiff’s lawyers total compensation for those cases was just under $27,000,000.  The report does not break down what was spent on defense costs on cases which resulted in a payment to the plaintiff.

More to follow.