What Is the Average Settlement for a Medical Malpractice Case?
July 13, 2021
The average settlement for a medical malpractice case varies, depending on factors such as the type and severity of the injury, whether there was a death involved, and the year and state where the case took place. In 2018, Pennsylvania had the second highest state average after New York, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you can expect to receive compensation that matches an average amount. Each medical malpractice case and each settlement amount is unique.
If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died due to medical malpractice, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit to obtain compensation for your losses, and it’s natural to wonder what kind of settlement you may receive. While statistics can tell you what the average settlement is and provide an idea of what type of case is likely to be successful, the amount of settlement depends on the individual circumstances of your case.
The skilled medical malpractice attorneys at the Wapner Newman law firm offer a free consultation to discuss the facts involved in your case, evaluate whether your situation warrants a medical malpractice lawsuit, and estimate the range of compensation that may be possible.
For almost 40 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless personal injury victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We work on a contingency basis, which means you pay no fees until we have secured a recovery on your behalf. There are time limits for filing a case, so do not delay. Call Wapner Newman today at (215) 569-0900.
What Is the Average Payout for Medical Malpractice?
In addition to statistics for the average payout for medical malpractice, there are also trends that can give you a better idea of what your case may be worth. According to the 2019 medical malpractice payout report by Leverage Rx, average payouts were relatively constant over the years, but awards in some states increased by as much as 200%.
In Pennsylvania, average payouts dropped greatly after a high in 2004, then gradually rose. One reason is that, in 2004, medical malpractice cases could be tried in any court, and often courts in Philadelphia were more likely to deliver a favorable outcome for plaintiffs. After 2004, the law changed to require cases to be filed in the county where malpractice occurred, and a medical professional must sign a certificate of merit affirming that the claim of malpractice is legitimate. As a result, fewer cases are getting to the courtroom.
What Are the Chances of Winning a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
The chances of winning a medical malpractice lawsuit also depend on the individual factors and circumstances involved. Factors that will be considered by insurance companies and by judges and juries should the case go to trial include:
The Severity and Permanence of Your Injuries
A major factor in any settlement is the severity of the injury sustained. Medical malpractice can cause injuries that range from mild symptoms that dissipate over time, to severe, permanent injuries, such as traumatic brain damage, that require continuing care. Precise calculations based on the severity of your injury are a challenging but crucial part of your claim, so it is beneficial to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to determine all effects of your injuries.
The Extent of the Negligence and Fault
Not everything that goes wrong medically is malpractice. For medical malpractice to exist, there must be negligence or fault on the part of the medical professional, and the amount and type of the negligence play a role in the settlement amount. To prove negligence, our attorneys must show that a doctor caused injury by acting in a way contrary to how a competent doctor would behave, that this behavior caused your injuries, and that you suffered damages as a result.
Proving this liability will be important to the amount of the settlement. In some instances, the medical professional will admit to fault or negligence but dispute the type, amount, and severity of your injuries in an attempt to lower any settlement amount.
Your Individual Situtation, Characteristics, and Actions
Often, a settlement amount will take into consideration the injured person’s age, number of dependents, occupation, earning capacity, and other characteristics. For example, juries may be sympathetic and award larger settlements in situations such as where a young father with small children to support is left unable to work or have a family relationship. Additional factors such as whether you did anything to contribute to your injuries, like failing to seek treatment when a problem became apparent, can also affect the amount of any payout.
The Inclination of the Judge or Jury, the Strength of Your Case, and the Ability of Your Attorney
The stronger your evidence and the more solid your case, the higher the settlement can be. Some judges, juries, or even jurisdictions are more inclined to award higher settlements than others. Higher average settlements may also be affected by your attorney’s ability to investigate, research and present your case.
Our Attorneys Must Prove Your Injuries Were Caused by Medical Malpractice
Not everything that goes wrong during a medical procedure is necessarily grounds for medical malpractice. For your claim to be successful, the burden of proof is on the patient, based on the evidence.
According to Pennsylvania law, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional violates the generally accepted standard of care that a reasonably prudent healthcare provider would have provided under similar circumstances. To win a settlement, our attorneys would have to prove that the defendant in the case breached the duty to adhere to a standard of care and was negligent or at fault for causing the injury or death. This means we would have to establish the following:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship between you and the defendant, who owed you a duty of care.
- The doctor breached that duty through actions or inactions.
- This breach caused harm or injury.
- You suffered damages as a direct result, such as increased medical costs, lost wages, loss of life’s enjoyment, and pain and suffering.
To win your case, the medical malpractice attorneys at Wapner Newman would:
- Investigate what happened and gather evidence through examining medical records and interviewing witnesses
- Consult with expert medical professionals to testify that the standard of care was violated because, under the same circumstances, a similarly trained doctor would have handled the case differently to avoid the injury or death
- Negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement
- Prepare your case for trial should negotiations break down.
Contact Us for Help with Your Medical Malpractice Case
Wapner Newman Law Firm has been helping injury victims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for 40 years, winning top settlements and verdicts for people who have been damaged due to someone else’s negligence or fault.
Our attorneys will help you navigate the complex laws and processes involved with medical malpractice lawsuits, fight for the highest settlement award possible, and get justice against those who wronged you. Call us today for your free initial consultation at (215) 569-0900.