Over the past several years, awards from an average medical malpractice suit in Missouri have taken a rollercoaster ride, partly due to the state’s tort reform in 2005.
After Missouri malpractice claims spiked sharply in 2005, newly opened claims declined substantially in subsequent years leading up through 2008, which is the most current year available for statistics provided by the 2008 Missouri Medical Malpractice Insurance Report.
Incidence of claims on the decline
Medical malpractice in Missouri increased substantially during 2005 because of the state’s tort reform, which became effective for all claims filed after August of 2005. According to the Insurance Report, a month-by-month analysis of the 2005 claims shows that only August and September had any significant increases. Reported claims declined rapidly in 2006 and again in 2008. By 2008, new claims were at levels well below the historical average.
To illustrate the historical trends in malpractice in Missouri even further, data from 2004 (just one year before the spike resulting from the tort reform) to 2008 show a decline in claims. In 2004, the number of claims open at year-end was 4,268. By 2008, this figure had declined to 3,017, representing the lowest number of pending claims in 25 years.
As the new claims in Missouri malpractice suits decreased between 2005 through 2007, the average awards for cases declined as well. Between 2005 and 2006, average awards declined by 15.9 percent, from $253,888 to $213,454, and by an additional 8.5 percent to $195,239 in 2007.
In 2008, this amount increased by 3.8 percent to $202,612, still well below the period high of $253,888. Average payments for physicians and surgeons followed the same trend, declining by nearly 20 percent between 2005 and 2007, but increased by over 13 percent in 2008.
With the complexities of Missouri medical malpractice suits, it is in the best interest of the filing party to seek advice from a lawyer who has the experience and proven reputation to defend the plaintiff’s legal rights.
If you suspect that you are a victim of malpractice, time is of the essence.
Consult one of our medical negligence lawyers immediately to discuss your case and make an important step in taking control of your situation.