For the first time since 2003, total medical malpractice payouts in the United States increased in 2013, according to an annual report from Diederich, a medical malpractice insurance provider.

The total medical malpractice payout in 2013 was $3,733,678,100 – representing a more than $169 million increase since 2012.

New York malpractice payouts reached about $690 million last year, nearly doubling the second ranked state, Pennsylvania, which saw $357 million in payouts. Despite nationwide increases and having the highest payouts of any state, New York also leads in total decrease of payouts from 2012 to 2013.

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Table 1. States with the highest increase in payouts from 2012 to 2013
California $51 million
New Jersey $43 million
Pennsylvania $41 million
Maryland $26 million
Virginia $16 million
Table 2. States with the highest decrease in payouts from 2012 to 2013
New York $73 million
Illinois $28 million
Massachusetts $7 million
Florida $7 million
Mississippi $3 million

New York had the highest per capita payout, at $38.83, while North Dakota had the lowest (at $2.96). Besides New York, states with the highest per capita payout in 2013 included Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Illinois[NB5] .

The lowest payouts, after North Dakota, were seen in Texas, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Indiana, Vermont, North Carolina, Nevada, South Dakota, and Alabama.

Although 96% of cases were settled, 3 % of payout amounts were the result of a case going to judgment.  In those cases, the average award decreased by more than $200,000. The bulk of malpractice payouts were due to allegations of diagnosis issues (33%) followed by surgery (23%), treatment (18%) and obstetrics (10 %).

Diederich Healthcare has been compiling its annual report since 2011 using statistics from the National Practitioner Data Bank.