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Insurance "Closed Claims" Offer Window into Ohio Medical Malpractice

Ohio's Department of Insurance releases a report annually which details the "closed claims" paid out by insurance companies on behalf of their medical professional liability customers - in other words, the payments made by insurance companies for doctors accused of medical malpractice. The report offers an interesting look at medical malpractice cases in Ohio.

Recent Findings

The latest report, released in January of this year, covers claims that were closed in 2009. Claims are said to be "closed" when they reach their final outcome, which might be a verdict in a trial, a settlement, or the passing of the statute of limitations. Although some claims arose from recent incidents, many claims take years before they close.

There were a total of 3,344 claims that closed in 2009, and while not all of those resulted in a payout by the insurance company to the injured party, the average dollar amount of those claims that did result in an indemnity payout was $322,158.

The age of the claim had a distinct correlation with the amount of the payout, demonstrating that oftentimes a large judgment or settlement is obtained only after years of determined work. For example, among claims in which there was a payment, of the 181 claims closed within one year of the claim, the average amount was $98,095. Similar claims closed in their second year were nearly three times as large, averaging $310,739. And of the 21 claims that closed seven or more years after being initially reported, the average insurance payout was $833,297.

Medical Malpractice Claims Can Be Difficult

Generally speaking, for a medical malpractice claim to be successful, the plaintiff must establish that whatever injury that he or she sustained was the direct result of the physician's actions, and that the physician did not do what other physicians of "ordinary skill, care, or diligence" would do. To demonstrate this, the injured person must show evidence of what the medical community's usual standard is, and show that the doctor departed from that standard. Although this may sound easy to demonstrate when someone has been injured, the data from the Ohio Department of Insurance shows that 76 percent of claims closed without a payment being made to the injured person. This shows the difficulty in carrying a case to a successful conclusion, and further demonstrates the importance of having an experienced attorney handling any medical malpractice case.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love has suffered injury because of a doctor's negligence, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. An attorney can assess your case and help you get the compensation for your injuries that you deserve. For more information, contact an attorney today.

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