Ohio medical malpractice claims hit a new low in 2012, the most recent year for which numbers are available. Out of the 2,773 medical malpractice cases that were resolved in 2012, four out of five ended with no payout, according to the latest annual report from the Ohio Department of Insurance.
About 20% of the claims, or 576 in total, ended with an indemnity payment. The total amount paid on the 576 cases was $177,323,025, or an average of about $307,852 per claim.
However, although most of the claims closed with no payments to the plaintiff, almost all of the claims generated expenses for investigation and defense of the claim.
Among medical specialties, internal medicine had the most claims, at 131, with six claims resulting in payment (an average of $156,667 per claim), while cardiovascular disease claims had the highest average payments per specialty ($708,505 per claim paid).
Non-obstetrical medical claims such as failure to treat, wrong treatment, or delay in treatment resulted in the highest number of claims (n=780), with 143 of those resulting in payments to injured plaintiffs.
Obstetrics-related claims had a lower total number (n=117), but the 35 of those that resulted in payouts had the highest average payment for any type of injury – over $1.1 million.
About a decade ago, Ohio instituted medical malpractice reforms including a cap on non-economic damages of $500,000 per occurrence and a shortened time frame in which a patient could sue for a medical injury.
Proponents of the reform have credited it for the record low payouts in the state, but opponents feel the law has not done enough to control overall health care costs.