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News of the Day ... in Perspective


Malpractice awards reach record high.

The average medical malpractice verdict in 2002? What would you guess?

$6.2 million. That's right, the average verdict was an astronomical $6.2 million. That means many were far higher. Any trial lawyer who argued his case before a jury that returned a verdict in his favor could expect to win, on average, $6.2 million in 2002. The average is probably even higher now.

These verdict data were just released by the annual Personal Injury Evaluation Handbook, published by Jury Verdict Research, of Horsham Pa. It compiles a nationwide database of 213,000 verdicts.

Many doctors are told that they can expect to win most malpractice verdicts. True, but not by much. In 2002, plaintiffs won 42% of malpractice cases. That is up from 40% in 2001, 37% in 2000 and 35% in 1999. The trend is obvious.

The increase in the average award has also been up, up, and up. The average verdict award was $3.3 million in 2000, and $3.9 million in 2001, before skyrocketing in 2002.

On April 13th, the U.S. Senate once again defeated tort reform legislation.

Additional information:

Medical malpractice reform: the patientís quick primer

AAPS statement on professional liability crisis in Pennsylvania, Jan 7, 2003

Insurance meltdown, AAPS News, Feb 2003

Unlimited liability, AAPS News, July 2002

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