Despite the drawn-out scenes shown on television, medical malpractice lawsuits are much less dramatic than one might think. More than nine times out of ten, medical malpractice settlement occurs (rather than decision by jury).

But with that said, it is imperative that those undergoing these types of court proceedings understand the severity of these cases.

To learn more about these cases and what the average medical malpractice settlement actually is, read on below!

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is when a licensed healthcare facility or provider(s) cause preventable injuries or illnesses to patients. Each state should have a guide to these laws. 

In the wake of these situations, victims can file a civil lawsuit to recover damages from the accused provider or facility. Generally speaking, the goal of these suits is to reimburse victims for losses associated with the injury or illness, and to provide for future financial needs as related to the injury.

There are also non-economic costs that may be difficult to assign a dolor value. This is why providers carry medical malpractice insurance.

The illness or injury stemming from medical malpractice is categorized by the following:

  1. Diagnostic errors
  2. Treatment omissions/follow-up failures
  3. Surgical/anesthesia errors
  4. Birth/prenatal errors
  5. Prescription drug/medical device injuries

Depending on the category and severity of the case, the results of the settlement for medical malpractice will vary.

Average Medical Malpractice Settlement

Just as the facts of the case will differ, the ultimate result will vary between medical providers, as well.

This may be affected by factors including:

  • Career
  • Overall health
  • Age
  • Insurance resources

It also, of course, relies on the severity of the illness or injury itself. While there is no exact medical malpractice settlement calculator, there are trends in how the cases tend to fall financially.

In the $1-$10,000 range, the cases usually involve illness or injury with minimal damage. It will usually cover out-of-pocked medical costs and temporary lost wages.

For cases settling at $10,000-$30,000, it usually covers patients suffering from a shorter-term disability of six months or less. This may be due to a missed or incorrect diagnosis, or a minor surgical mistake.

In the $30,000 to $100,000 range, this is where the more damaging cases lie. These illnesses or injuries typically require additional surgeries and/or rehabilitation to remedy. It may be due to an initial surgical error, or a missed diagnosis.

Victims who fully recover over the course of one year without significant long-term damage could expect to recover roughly $100,000 in damages.

For cases in the $100,000 to $500,000 range, significant issues have arisen leading to long-term damage. This could be due to abuse, misdiagnoses, surgical mistakes, etc.

There is really no limit to the number of situations that could lead to drastic and damaging injuries.

However, damages tend to be high as there are life-long consequences of these situations.

Cases reaching seven figures or higher involve serious and permanent injuries. This may also be associated with the provider’s loss of license, or wrongful death claims where applicable.

Examples of these cases include brain damage, unnecessary amputations, or allowing deadly cancers to metastasize. While these are more difficult to quantify in terms of long-term consequences, they often involve settlements of a million dollars or more.

Now You Know the Average Settlement for Medical Malpractice

With this brief guide, you can hopefully gain a greater understanding of the average medical malpractice settlement.

The more familiar you are with the process and what it might entail, the more prepared you can be should you find yourself in such a situation.

If you found this content helpful, check out our other financial articles!