Medical Malpractice Reports
Medical Malpractice Report Summary
The Missouri Department of Insurance has collected medical malpractice claims data for more than 30 years. These data provide an extensive time series regarding claim trends in Missouri. Data through 2012 indicate that the medical professional liability insurance market remains robust and competitive, and claims remain at levels well below historical averages. Among the most notable trends are:
- After a significant increase in 2007, the number of claimants with closed claims declined substantially in each subsequent year. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of claims closed declined by nearly one-third, from 1,277 to 903. The number of claims closed with payment also declined from 581 to 432 over the same period.
- The number of newly reported malpractice actions declined to the lowest level observed over the time period of the report. New claims peaked at 1,512 in 2005, but by 2012 had declined to 801.
- The average recovery per claimant (from all parties) remained virtually unchanged between 2011 and 2012, increasing by just 0.9 percent from $300,658 to $303,337.
- The number of individuals with pending claims, or claims open at year-end, reached an all-time low of 1,832 in 2012, after a 2005 peak of 3,081.
- Surgical errors were the most prevalent type of allegation, and were associated with nearly one-third of malpractice actions. Other common allegations involved diagnosis (18.2 percent), non-surgical and non-medicine related treatments (18.7 percent), and patient safety issues unrelated to medical treatment, such as falls, injury during transport, assaults by third parties, or privacy and ethical allegations (11.6 percent). Additional detailed tables are provided in the report.
- Average payments track very closely the severity of the injury. Several classes of injury resulted in average payment exceeding $1 million. They included injuries resulting in quadriplegia (with an average payment of $1.8 million), failure to diagnose or treat meningitis ($2.3 million), cerebral palsy ($1.6 million), and paraplegia ($1.2 million).