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.

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.