How Much is the Average Medical Malpractice Settlement?

If you are considering a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may be wondering how much compensation you can expect to receive and whether it is worth the time and effort involved with building your case. 

There is no easy answer because every case is unique and damage awards can vary widely. There are a lot of factors that must be considered when estimating your potential to recover damages for medical malpractice. 

Settlement Versus Trial

Once the lawsuit is filed, medical malpractice cases can be resolved in one of two ways:

  • You may be offered a settlement, which means the person or organization being sued will pay you a certain amount of money (usually significantly less than what is being sought by the claimant) to settle the lawsuit outside of the courtroom.
  • The case may go to trial, and a judge or jury will decide whether there was medical malpractice and how much you should be awarded for damages.

If you choose to decline a settlement offer and take your case to trial you may receive a larger sum, but you also run the risk of getting a damage award that is smaller than the settlement would have been. You may even receive no compensation if the court decides the defendant was not guilty of medical malpractice.

The Severity of Injury

One of the major determiners of settlement potential is the severity of the injury you experienced as a result of medical error or negligence. The more financial, physical, and emotional harm you experienced, the higher your potential settlement.

According to statistics extracted from the National Practitioner Data Bank by Diederich Healthcare, the following were the average payouts for various degrees of injury in United States medical malpractice cases in 2018:

  • Insignificant injury $34,333
  • Minor temporary injury $72,850
  • Emotional injury $91,678
  • Major temporary injury $214,407  
  • Minor permanent injury $236,057
  • Death $374,530
  • Significant permanent injury $424,645
  • Major permanent injury $600,797
  • Quadriplegic & brain damages $1,029,105 

The Strength of Your Case

Fewer lawsuits have succeeded in the U.S. in recent years; however, at the same time, the average payouts for successful cases continues to rise. 

If your case shows a strong likelihood of winning at trial, you may be offered a higher settlement amount than somebody with a weaker case. This is often because the defendant wants to avoid a lengthy and expensive trial, especially if he or she will likely be found guilty of medical malpractice and be ordered to pay an even larger award.

Consult a Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you feel you have been harmed by a doctor’s negligence, contact an attorney. Medical malpractice attorneys will work to strengthen your case by helping you gather the strongest possible evidence. Evidence may include witness statements, expert testimony, medical records, and financial statements demonstrating how the defendant’s actions resulted in your injuries and financial hardship.

Experienced medical malpractice attorneys can help you get the financial compensation you deserve by examining your case and lending their expertise to strengthening your case. They can also help you decide whether to take a settlement or follow through to trial. 

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