The Ohio Department of Insurance released its most recent report – the Ohio 2009 Medical Professional Liability Closed Claim Report – indicating that after four years of decline, malpractice suits are on the rise in the state.

A total of 3,344 medical malpractice claims were reported in 2009. More than three quarters of the cases (76%) resulted in no indemnity payment. Of that 76%, the large majority (almost 65%) were dismissed without prejudice, or abandoned by the plaintiff. About 5% of the claims were dismissed with summary judgment or directed judgment, meaning the case was in front of a judge. About 4% of the cases ended after trial with a verdict for the defendant, and a little over 2% of the cases were resolved with a settlement or by alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation.

Only 24% of the malpractice cases resulted in an indemnity payment; the majority of the payments (almost 22%) were the result of the parties reaching a settlement. A mere 5% of the cases went to trial and ended in a verdict, and less than 1% of the cases (0.84%) resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff. 

A total of 802 claims resulted in a payment, and of those, 57 claims resulted in a payment of over $1 million. The physician specialties that had the most claims filed against them were (in order): internal medicine, general surgery, emergency medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, family physicians/general practitioners, radiology, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology, cardiovascular disease specialists, neurology, and pediatrics. Of those, neurology had the highest average paid indemnity of $1,530,218.

The majority of the 1,176 claims filed involved death, with an average indemnity payment of $406,329. The highest paid average indemnity ($1,266,637) was for “permanent grave” injuries such as quadriplegia and brain damage – injuries requiring life-long care.

Access the entire report, as well as the reports for the past five years, here.