According to an annual report by Diederich Healthcare, total medical malpractice payouts in the state of New York amounted to roughly $39 per capita in both 2012 and 2013. That is the highest per capita rate in the nation—fifty percent higher than any other state. Given this information, one might be tempted to conclude that it is relatively easy to obtain compensation for medical malpractice in New York, but that would be a hasty conclusion.
First off, keep in mind that it is often difficult for those who have been legitimately harmed by medical negligence to find an advocate to represent them. Much of the reason for this is economic—medical malpractice attorneys are often leery of taking cases that don’t promise a significant payout because the cost of going to trial is so great.
Those who can find a good attorney to represent them should keep in mind, though, that taking a case to trial is not necessary the best way to obtain compensation. This is because the majority of medical malpractice payouts do not come through litigation. Most of the time—96 percent of the time in 2013—such payouts happen as the result of a settlement.
The flip side of this is that cases where the provider decides to take the case to trial are most often decided in their favor. There are a variety of potential reasons for this, including that such cases may have inherently weaker merits, but it is worth keeping in mind.
These facts can and should factor into how injured patients go about the negotiation process. Doing so with an experienced attorney, of course, can help ensure the patient obtains the best possible recovery.
Source: Forbes, “The Puzzle of Medical Malpractice Payouts,” Michael Krauss, March 27, 2014.