MAP: New York is the clear leader in medical malpractice awards

March 15, 2014

Malpractice payouts by state. (Jeremy Gower/Diederich Healthcare)

Medical malpractice lawsuits paid out more in New York last year than in any other state — and by a huge margin.

Awards in malpractice lawsuits paid out roughly $690 million in New York last year, nearly twice that of second-ranked Pennsylvania, which saw $357 million in payouts, according to government data compiled by Jeremy Gower of Diederich Healthcare, a medical malpractice insurer. New York is also the clear leader on per capita payouts, averaging $39 per resident with Pennsylvania trailing at $25 per resident.

Malpractice lawsuits have long prompted controversy among policymakers. Some argue they drive up insurance rates and make it difficult to be a physician while others say they’re necessary to protect consumers. This past Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court said the state legislature manufactured an “alleged medical malpractice crisis” and threw out limits on payouts in some wrongful death lawsuits, according to the  Miami Herald. And lawyers and industry groups are collecting signatures to get a measure to increase the cap on the ballot in California.

Caps on malpractice awards have been overturned in at least nine other states, according to year-old data from PIAA, an insurance industry trade association. And only 15 states lack caps altogether. (New York and Pennsylvania are among them, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.)

Payouts overall rose 4.7 percent between 2012 and 2013 to $3.7 billion, according to Gower’s compilation of government data. The map above and charts below came from his graphic, which includes a lot more info on malpractice suits.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the total malpractice payouts from 2013. Some $3.7 billion were awarded last year.


Malpractice payouts over time. (Jeremy Gower/Diederich Healthcare)

Malpractice payouts, per capita. (Jeremy Gower/Diederich Healthcare)
State Payout Amounts
NY $689,800,300
PA $356,855,500
CA $274,590,800
NJ $249,865,850
FL $199,442,450
IL $173,048,750
IN $142,434,250
MA $140,476,500
MD $102,158,550
GA $100,602,000
TX $84,675,000
VA $79,960,250
AZ $73,173,250
OH $69,498,750
NC $65,406,000
WA $59,578,300
LA $59,444,250
CT $53,832,750
MI $53,795,250
OK $47,693,000
MO $46,646,000
SC $45,737,500
CO $43,247,050
RI $36,407,000
KY $34,280,250
TN $33,872,250
OR $33,373,250
NM $32,590,050
AL $27,135,750
WV $26,540,500
NH $25,491,250
KS $24,419,000
IA $23,831,750
MN $23,556,500
ME $22,358,250
WI $22,259,750
NV $21,707,000
AR $20,254,000
MS $17,461,750
UT $15,190,750
HI $12,548,500
NE $10,617,250
MT $10,171,000
DE $9,820,000
DC $7,368,750
ID $7,136,250
SD $6,865,000
WY $6,335,000
ND $4,162,250
AK $4,085,250
VT $1,877,500
Grand Total $3,733,678,100
Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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Niraj Chokshi · March 14, 2014