Medical malpractice lawsuits can vary significantly in their settlement amounts, depending on the nature and severity of the medical errors or medical negligence involved. Some of the highest payments are often seen in cases involving birth injuries, surgical errors, and medication errors.
These cases typically involve severe and permanent damage or wrongful death leading to substantial compensation. At The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers, our medical malpractice lawyers are committed to seeking justice in serious medical malpractice claims all across Illinois, providing comprehensive legal support to help you navigate through this complex process.
The Ten Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases in the US
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) over the 10 year period of 2013-2022, the top ten most common types of medical malpractice payouts were:
Improper Performance: failed to execute a medical procedure correctly. (24,460 cases, avg. payout $267,518) The largest payment for this issue was approximately $22.5M.
Failure to Diagnose: concluding that the patient has no disease or condition that needs follow-up or observation. (19,581 cases, avg. payout $424,239) Five payments were in excess of $20M, with a highest payment of approximately $27.5M.
Improper Management: poorly coordinated or monitored a patient’s care. (7,903 cases, avg. payout $348,873) The highest payment was about $12.5M for this type of malpractice.
Delay in Diagnosis: late recognition of a patient’s medical condition. (7,485 cases, avg. payout $420,408) The largest payment for this type of malpractice was about $11.5M.
Failure to Treat: neglected necessary treatment of diagnosed conditions. (5,792 cases, avg. payout $247,812) About $22.5M was the single highest payment in this time period.
Failure to Recognize a Complication: ignored signs or failed to acknowledge arising complications. (4,190 cases, avg. payout $396,109) The highest payment of these cases was approximately $17.5M.
Failure to Monitor: neglected necessary tracking of a patient’s condition. (4,010 cases, avg. payout $325,347) Of these cases, the one with the highest payment was for about $8M.
Improper Technique: used an incorrect method during a medical procedure. (3,975 cases, avg. payout $275,090) One case received a payout of approximately $9M for this issue.
Delay in Treatment: postponed necessary medical care. (3,001 cases, avg. payout $373,603) Approximately $8.5M was the highest payment for this delay.
Allegation: not otherwise classified. (2,289 cases) Some of the highest payments for this issue were approximately $8M.
Startlingly, about 50% of medical malpractice payments in this reporting period were for Improper Performance and Failure to Diagnose.
When Medical Malpractice Cases End in Wrongful Death
According to a Johns Hopkins Medicine study from 2016, more than 250,000 deaths are caused by medical error each year. This makes it the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer.
How Do the Medical Malpractice Settlements and Awards in Illinois Compare to US Cases?
With a population of approximately 12.7 million, Illinois comprises about 3.8% of the total U.S. population, which is estimated to be 334 million people in 2023. Relative to its population size, Illinois sees a proportionate number of medical malpractice payments, often mirroring the national trends in types of cases.
The 10 Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice in Illinois
In the ten-year period of 2013-2022 reported in NPDB, about 50% of medical malpractice payments in Illinois were made because of a failure to correctly execute a medical procedure, the failure to diagnose a disease or condition, improper management, or a delay in diagnosis. The following were the most common types of medical malpractice case that resulted in a payment in Illinois:
Improper Performance: failed to execute a medical procedure correctly. (606 cases, average payout $367,867) Two of these cases had payouts of approximately $5M.
Failure to Diagnose: concluding that the patient has no disease or condition that needs follow-up or observation. (460 cases, average payout $883,884) One case resulted in a payout of approximately $18.5M.
Improper Management: poorly coordinated or monitored a patient’s care. (169 cases, average payout $641,980) One case payout was approximately $7.5M.
Delay in Diagnosis: late recognition of a patient’s medical condition. (156 cases, average payout $681,947) Two payments amounted to about $3M each.
Failure to Treat: neglected necessary treatment of diagnosed conditions. (126 cases, average payout $347,601) The top payment was about $5M.
Failure to Monitor: neglected necessary tracking of a patient’s condition. (105 cases, average payout $621,209) The top payment for this issue was around $8M.
Failure to Recognize a Complication: ignored signs or failed to acknowledge arising complications. (104 cases, average payout $484,074) The highest payment was about $3M.
Improper Technique: used an incorrect method during a medical procedure. (95 cases, average payout $490,500) For this issue, the highest payment was about $4.3M.
Delay in Treatment: postponed necessary medical care. (73 cases, average payout $580,616) A payout of approximately $2.5M was the largest during this 10 year period for this type of malpractice.
Wrong or Misdiagnosis: an incorrect diagnosis of a patient’s medical condition. (52 cases, average payout $467,115) $2.5M was the largest approximate payout for this issue.
What Kinds of Medical Malpractice Claims in the US Had the Highest Payouts?
In medical malpractice, certain types of cases consistently lead to the highest payouts. These cases often involve catastrophic or permanent birth injuries like severe brain damage, spinal cord injuries, and other consequences from negligence.
The Top 10 Types of Medical Malpractice with the Highest Payouts in the US
According to the NPDB, the highest medical malpractice payouts, for the ten-year period of 2013-2022, averaged from $12.5 million to $27.5 million. Just 36 cases accounted for about $637M in medical malpractice payments. These top paying cases were for:
Failure to Diagnose – A top single payment of ~$18.5M.
Delay in Treatment of Identified Fetal Distress – Top payments of ~$22.5M.
Unnecessary Procedure – Highest individual payment amounts of ~$27.5M.
Failure to Identify Fetal Distress – Highest single payments of ~$15.5M.
Failure to Treat – Top single payments of ~$22.5M.
Failure to Treat Fetal Distress – Highest payout at ~$27.5M.
Delay in Performance – Highest payment of ~$22.5M.
Improper Management – Top payment amount of ~$12.5M.
Improper Performance – Single top payment amount of ~$22.5M.
Wrong Dosage Administered – The highest payments reaching ~$14.5M.
Examples of these types of cases could include mismanagement of a pregnancy leading to permanent birth injuries like Cerebral Palsy, an incorrect dosage of medication causing severe, permanent damage to a patient’s liver and kidneys, or a delay in diagnosing and treating a life-threatening condition like cancer leading to catastrophic consequences.
What Kinds of Medical Malpractice Claims in Illinois Had the Highest Payouts?
Again, according to NPDB statistics from the ten-year period of 2013-2022, the highest medical malpractice payouts in Illinois ranged from $5.5 million to $22.5 million with just 23 cases accounting for $250.1 million in average medical negligence payouts.
The Top 10 Types of Medical Malpractice in Illinois with the Highest Payments
The top paying cases in Illinois were for:
Failure to Diagnose – A top payout of ~$18.1M.
Delay in Treatment of Identified Fetal Distress – The highest single payments were $22.5M.
Failure to Identify Fetal Distress – The top single payments were ~$14.5M.
Communication Problem Between Practitioners – A top payment of ~$13.5M for a single case.
Contraindicated Procedure – ~$10M payout.
Failure to Monitor – ~$8M payout.
Unnecessary Procedure – ~$8M payout.
Improper Management – ~$7.5M payout.
Failure to Delay a Case When Indicated – ~$5.6M payout.
Failure to Treat Fetal Distress – ~$5.5M payout.
These types of cases could include circumstances such as a failure to diagnose and treat a life-threatening condition like heart disease, miscommunication between medical professionals leading to serious consequences, or the performance of an unnecessary procedure such as surgery resulting in permanent harm to the patient.
What Medical Practice Gets Sued the Most?
According to the American Medical Association (AMA), surgeons and ob-gyns are the most sued medical practitioners, with 75% of those over 55 reportedly facing a malpractice lawsuit at some point in their careers.
What Is My Medical Malpractice Claim Worth?
There isn’t a standard medical malpractice settlement formula for calculating medical malpractice claims. Each case is evaluated on its unique circumstances and merit and an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help determine the value of a case.
Settlements and awards for medical malpractice injuries are typically calculated by considering both economic and non-economic factors. This can include current and future medical expenses and bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and more.
What Is NOT Medical Malpractice?
Not all medical outcomes that are unsatisfactory can be categorized as a medical malpractice incident. This includes unavoidable complications or diseases that progress despite appropriate care. Typically, a medical malpractice case must result in permanent injury. It must be proven that the actions, or inactions, of a healthcare professional caused a patient harm.
For instance, an unexpected allergic reaction to a correctly administered medication is not considered a valid medical malpractice lawsuit, as it’s an unforeseen circumstance despite appropriate care.