A total of $3.6 billion was paid out for medical malpractice lawsuits in 2012, and 48% of those payouts occurred in five states, according to Diederich Healthcare’s 2013 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis.

In 2012, there were a total of 12,142 medical malpractice payouts in the United States – accounting for one about every 43 minutes. The medical malpractice insurance company based its analysis on 2012 data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Practitioner Data Bank.  

The states with the highest medical malpractice payouts were as follows: New York — $763,088,250; Pennsylvania  — $316,167,500; California — $222,926,200; New Jersey — $206,668,250; Florida — $203,671,100.

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Map of States by Malpractice Payout

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 malpractice payouts were Texas, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Indiana.

Malpractice allegations were primarily related to diagnosis (33%), followed by surgery (24%), treatment (18%) and obstetrics (11%). Diagnosis-related malpractice allegations accounted for more than $1 billion in payments — 20% of all payments for this type of allegation were related to failure to diagnose.

Women received more payouts than men (57% vs. 43%). For both sexes, patients aged 40 to 59 years had the highest number of payouts by age at 39%.

A similar proportion of payouts were awarded to both inpatient (45%) and outpatient (41%) malpractice allegations, and 9% of payouts were attributable to both inpatient and outpatient treatment.

In terms of injury severity, 31% of payouts were awarded in cases that involved a patient’s death, 19% were in cases that involved significant permanent injury and 18% were for cases that involved major permanent injury. Only 0.4% of malpractice payouts were related to insignificant injury, whereas 1% was based on emotional injury only, and 3% were based on minor temporary injury.

Despite an increase in the number of payouts awarded from 1998 and 2001, the monetary value of malpractice awards has been dropping steadily since 2003 –  2012 payouts were 3.4% lower than in 2011.


  1. Diederich Healthcare. “2013 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis.” Available at www.diedrichhealthcare.com/medical-malpractice-insurance/2013-medical-malpractice-payout-analysis/