Diederich Healthcare has recently released an analysis of 2012 medical malpractice payouts based on information from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). 

The analysis revealed that of the $3.6 billion in payouts for medical malpractice last year, 48% were attributable to five states: New York ($763,088,250), Pennsylvania ($316,167,500), California ($222,926,200), New Jersey ($206,668,250), and Florida ($203,671,100).

 Settlements were responsible for the bulk of the payouts (93%), whereas judgments were responsible for only 5% of the payouts. States with the lowest per capita payouts were Texas, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Indiana.

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The largest number of malpractice allegations were diagnosis related (33%), followed by surgery related (24%), treatment related (18%) and obstetrics related (11%). Diagnosis-related allegations of malpractice accounted for a total of $1,176,345,550 in payments. Failure to diagnose accounted for 20% of all payments. Slightly more payouts were made to women (57%) than men (43%), but the 40-59 year old age group of both sexes had the highest number of payouts by age, at 39%. 

A similar amount of payouts were based on inpatient (45%) and outpatient (41%) treatment, and 9% of payouts were attributable to both inpatient and outpatient treatment. In terms of severity of injury, 31% of payouts were in cases results in death, 19% were in cases of significant permanent injury, and 18% were for major permanent injury. Conversely, only 0.4 of the payouts were related to insignificant injury, 1% were based on emotional injury only and 3% were based on minor temporary injury.

In 2012, there were a total of 12,142 medical malpractice payouts in the United States—accounting for one about every 43 minutes. The positive news is that despite an increase in payouts between the years 1998 and 2001, since 2003 malpractice payouts have been steadily dropping. Payouts in 2012 were 3.4% lower than in 2011.