The National Practitioner Data Bank collects data about medical malpractice settlements of $10,000 and more. Here is some recent information about Tennessee physician judgments and settlements as reported to the Data Bank:
- There were 155 reported payments in 2011, down from 192 10 years earlier in 2001.
- 31 of those payments were under $50,000.
- 23 of those payments were between $50,000 and $99,000.
- 26 of those payments were between $100,000 and $249,000.
- 39 of those payments were between $250,000 and $499,000
- 30 of those payments were between $500,000 and $999,999.
- 6 of those payments were between $1,000,000 and $1,999,999.
- None of those payments exceeded $2,000,000.
- Total payments in 2011 were $46,850,000
- Thus, the mean payout in 2011 was a little over $300,000.
- The median payout in 2011 was $200,000, placing us 16th in the nation. Massachusetts was the highest at $404,000.
- Total payments in 2001 were $48,950,000.
- The year with the largest total payments was 2006 – $54,980,000.
- The median delay from incident to payment in 2011 was 4.0 years. The mean delay from incident to payment in 2011 was 4.5 years.
- You can read the 2011 Data Bank report by clicking on the link.
All of this data is very interesting, but I was particularly intrigued by the "delay in payment" data. We work particularly hard in our office to reduce this period and, quite frankly, I don’t recall any case in our office ever having a four-year delay from incident to payment except one: a case won at trial and appealed by one of several defendants. The verdict against that doctor was affirmed and payment was made about four years after the incident.
We recently resolved a case that was set for trial in late June, 2013. Our client died as a result of an error made in an emergency room in early 2011. The case had been filed for about 18 months. Our case could have been set for trial three or four months earlier but for scheduling issues with the court and defense counsel.