What Is the Average Payout for Medical Malpractice?

April 1, 2024 | Steve Crandall
What Is the Average Payout for Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider commits an act of negligence. In that situation, injured patients may be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit seeking compensation. Since every medical malpractice case is different, there is no such thing as an average payout in a claim or lawsuit. Rather, the compensation you recover will depend on various factors, including the extent of the medical provider's negligence, as well as the extent of your medical complications.

One of the best ways to increase your chances of receiving a favorable award is to retain an experienced Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer for representation right away. Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate your circumstances, take the appropriate legal steps on your behalf, and work to maximize your overall financial recovery.


What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

What Is the Average Payout for Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care expected in their field, resulting in harm or injury to a patient. Several types of negligence can amount to medical malpractice, including:

  • Diagnostic ErrorsDiagnostic errors occur when a healthcare provider fails to accurately diagnose a patient's condition or misinterprets diagnostic tests, leading to delayed or incorrect treatment. Examples of diagnostic errors include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and failure to order appropriate tests.
  • Surgical ErrorsSurgical errors occur during surgical procedures and may involve mistakes such as operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical instruments or foreign objects inside the patient's body, or performing the wrong surgical procedure altogether. These errors can result in serious complications, infections, or even death.
  • Medication ErrorsMedication errors occur when a healthcare provider prescribes the wrong medication, administers the wrong dose, or fails to monitor a patient's response to medication properly. Medication errors can lead to adverse drug reactions, allergic reactions, or other complications.
  • Failure to Obtain Informed Consent — Healthcare providers are required to obtain informed consent from patients before performing medical procedures or treatments. Failure to obtain informed consent or adequately inform patients of the risks and benefits of a procedure can constitute medical malpractice.
  • Failure To Provide Timely Treatment — Healthcare providers have a duty to provide timely and appropriate treatment to patients. Failure to promptly diagnose and treat a medical condition, such as a heart attack or stroke, can result in serious harm or death.
  • Failure To Follow Up — Healthcare providers have a responsibility to follow up with patients and monitor their condition after treatment or surgery. Failure to provide appropriate follow-up care can result in complications or exacerbation of the patient's condition. 
  • Lack of Proper Supervision or Training — In some cases, medical malpractice may result from a healthcare provider's lack of proper supervision or training. For example, a nurse or physician assistant may perform a medical procedure without adequate supervision or training, leading to patient harm.

Medical malpractice can occur in various forms and patients who have suffered an injury as a result of healthcare provider negligence may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and damages. Consult a qualified medical malpractice attorney to understand your rights and options if you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice.

What Can Happen When a Medical Provider Commits Malpractice

When healthcare providers fail to meet the standard of care expected in their profession, it can lead to various types of illnesses, injuries, or medical complications for patients. The following are some common examples:

What Can Happen When a Medical Provider Commits Malpractice
  • Infections — Healthcare-associated infections can occur when healthcare providers fail to follow proper infection control protocols, such as hand hygiene or sterile techniques during procedures. These infections can range from minor skin infections to life-threatening bloodstream infections, such as sepsis.
  • Surgical Complications — Surgical errors can result in a range of complications, including bleeding, infections, organ damage, or nerve injury. For example, a surgeon may accidentally nick a nearby organ or vessel during surgery, leading to serious complications that require additional treatment or surgery to correct.
  • Medication Reactions — Medication errors, such as prescribing the wrong medication or dosage, can lead to adverse drug reactions or allergic reactions in patients. These reactions can range from mild to severe and may require medical intervention to manage symptoms or prevent further harm.
  • Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis — Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can result in patients receiving the wrong treatment or experiencing delays in receiving necessary treatment. This can lead to worsening of the underlying condition, progression of the disease, or missed opportunities for early intervention.
Anesthesia Complications
  • Anesthesia ComplicationsAnesthesia errors, such as administering the wrong dosage or failing to monitor the patient's vital signs during surgery, can lead to anesthesia complications. These complications may include allergic reactions, respiratory problems, or anesthesia awareness (where the patient is awake but unable to move or communicate during surgery).
  • Birth InjuriesBirth injuries can occur during labor and delivery due to negligence on the part of healthcare providers. Examples of birth injuries include cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injuries, and brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. Negligent actions during childbirth, such as improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors, can lead to these injuries.
  • Psychological Trauma — Patients who experience medical malpractice may suffer psychological trauma as a result of their injuries or the trauma of undergoing medical treatment. This can include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other mental health conditions that require treatment and support.

Healthcare provider malpractice can result in a wide range of illnesses, injuries, or medical complications for patients. If you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice, it is essential to seek legal advice to understand your rights and options for seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.

Legally Proving a Medical Malpractice Claim

Proving a medical malpractice claim involves demonstrating that a healthcare provider breached the standard of care owed to the patient, resulting in harm or injury. To legally prove the elements of a medical malpractice claim, several key factors must be established:

  • Duty of Care — The first element to prove is that the healthcare provider owed a duty of care to the patient. This duty of care arises from the healthcare provider's professional relationship with the patient and requires them to provide treatment in accordance with accepted medical standards.
  • Breach of Duty — The next step is to show that the healthcare provider breached the duty of care by failing to act as a reasonably prudent healthcare provider would under similar circumstances. This may involve demonstrating that the provider made errors in diagnosis, treatment, surgery, medication administration, or other aspects of patient care.
  • Causation — After establishing a breach of duty, the injured party (plaintiff) must prove that the breach of duty caused their harm or injury. This requires showing that the patient's injuries were a direct result of the healthcare provider's negligent actions or omissions rather than other factors.
  • Damages — Finally, the plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered compensable damages as a result of the healthcare provider's negligence. This may include physical injuries, emotional distress, financial losses, or other harm resulting from the malpractice.

To legally prove these elements in a medical malpractice claim, plaintiffs typically rely on evidence such as:

  • Medical RecordsMedical records provide crucial documentation of the patient's condition, treatment, and the healthcare provider's actions. They may include notes, test results, imaging studies, and other medical documentation that can support the plaintiff’s case.
  • Expert Testimony — Expert witnesses, such as medical professionals in the same field as the defendant, can provide opinions on the standard of care applicable to the case and whether the defendant breached that standard. Expert testimony is often essential in proving the complex medical issues involved in malpractice claims.
  • Witness Testimony — Witnesses, including the plaintiff, family members, and other healthcare providers involved in the patient's care, may provide testimony regarding the events leading up to the alleged malpractice and the resulting harm the patient suffered.
  • Other Evidence — Additional evidence, such as photographs, video recordings, or documentation of the patient's injuries and losses, may also support the plaintiff's case.

By gathering and presenting compelling evidence to establish each element of a medical malpractice claim, plaintiffs can increase their chances of obtaining a favorable outcome and recovering compensation for their injuries and damages. Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help plaintiffs navigate the legal process and build a strong case to support their claims.

Factors That Determine the Payout for a Medical Malpractice Claim or Lawsuit

Factors That Determine the Payout for a Medical Malpractice Claim or Lawsuit

Several factors influence the payout for a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit, including the severity of the patient's injuries, the extent of the damages suffered, the strength of the evidence, and the jurisdiction where the case is filed. The following are some key factors that determine the payout for a medical malpractice claim:

  • The severity of the patient's injuries plays a significant role in determining the payout for a medical malpractice claim. More severe injuries that result in significant physical pain, disability, or long-term impairment (such as paralysis injury) are likely to result in higher compensation awards to cover medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
  • The amount of medical expenses the patient incurred as a result of the malpractice is another key factor in calculating the payout for a medical malpractice claim. This includes expenses such as hospital bills, surgery costs, medication costs, rehabilitation expenses, and ongoing medical treatment required to address the injuries.
  • In addition, patients who are unable to work due to their injuries may be entitled to compensation for lost income and earning capacity. The amount of lost income awarded in a medical malpractice claim depends on factors such as the patient's salary, employment history, and ability to return to work in the future.
  • Compensation for pain and suffering is intended to address the physical pain, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life the patient experienced as a result of the malpractice. The nature and severity of the injuries, the duration of pain and suffering, and the repercussions on the patient's daily life and activities often determine the payout for pain and suffering.
  • In addition to compensatory damages, in cases of egregious misconduct or recklessness on the part of the healthcare provider, the plaintiff may pursue punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages seek to serve as a deterrent to future negligent behavior.
  • The availability of insurance coverage, both on the part of the healthcare provider and the patient, can also affect the payout for a medical malpractice claim. If the healthcare provider has malpractice insurance, the insurance company may be responsible for covering all or part of the damages awarded in the claim.
  • Finally, the laws and regulations governing medical malpractice claims vary by state and can influence the payout for a claim. Some states have caps on damages, limits on certain types of damages, or other restrictions that may affect the amount of compensation the plaintiff receives in a malpractice claim.

The payout for a medical malpractice claim depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the injuries, the extent of the damages suffered, and the laws governing malpractice claims in the jurisdiction where the patient files the case. By considering these factors and working with an experienced attorney, patients can seek fair compensation for their injuries and losses resulting from medical malpractice.

What Happens at a Medical Malpractice Trial?

In a medical malpractice trial or arbitration proceeding, both parties present their case before a judge, jury, or arbitrator to determine whether the healthcare provider was negligent and liable for the patient's injuries. The following steps typically take place during these proceedings:

  • Opening Statements — The trial or arbitration begins with opening statements from each side. The plaintiff's attorney presents an overview of the case, outlining the allegations of malpractice and the damages the patient suffered. The defendant's attorney then responds, presenting their version of events and outlining their defense against the malpractice claims.
  • Presentation of Evidence — Both parties present evidence to support their respective arguments. This may include witness testimony, expert testimony, medical records, documents, photographs, and other exhibits. Witnesses, including the plaintiff, healthcare providers, medical experts, and other relevant individuals, may testify and provide information about the events leading up to the alleged malpractice and the resulting injuries.
  • Cross-examination — After each witness testifies, the opposing party has the opportunity to cross-examine them. This involves asking questions to challenge the witness's testimony or credibility and to elicit additional information that may support their case.
  • Closing Arguments — Once both sides have presented all evidence, they deliver closing arguments to summarize their case and persuade the judge, jury, or arbitrator to rule in their favor. The plaintiff's attorney may highlight the evidence of negligence and the damages that the patient suffered, while the defendant's attorney may emphasize any weaknesses in the plaintiff's case or raise doubts about the plaintiff's claims.
  • Jury Instructions — In a trial by jury, the judge provides instructions to the jury on the relevant legal standards and the law applicable to the case. The judge then instructs the jury to deliberate and reach a verdict based on the evidence that the two sides presented and the instructions the judge provided.
  • Deliberation and Verdict — If the case is a jury trial, the jury deliberates in private to reach a verdict. In arbitration proceedings, the arbitrator reviews the evidence and decides on liability and damages. After the jury or arbitrator reaches a verdict or decision, they announce it in open court.
  • Appeals — After the court renders a verdict or decision, either party may have the right to appeal the decision if they believe there were errors in the trial or arbitration proceedings that affected the outcome of the case.

A medical malpractice trial or arbitration proceeding involves the presentation of evidence, witness testimony, legal arguments, and, ultimately, a decision on liability and damages by the judge, jury, or arbitrator. These proceedings are designed to provide a fair and impartial resolution to disputes arising from allegations of medical malpractice.

Talk with an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

If you suffered an injury or medical complication that you believe arose from medical negligence, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Your lawyer can immediately investigate your circumstances and take the appropriate steps to safeguard your legal rights. Throughout the proceedings, your lawyer will aggressively fight for your legal interests and work to secure the financial compensation you deserve.

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Steve Crandall


With licenses to practice law in Kentucky, Ohio, and various Federal Courts, Steve Crandall has been a top trial lawyer for nearly 30 years. Steve’s goals are to first investigate your case to get you answers and then focus on holding those responsible for the mistakes that changed your life. Steve’s clients can attest to the fact that Steve is responsive, keeps them constantly updated and aggressively pursues their case. Steve also remains their lawyer for life.

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