Medical malpractice claims incur substantial defense costs

April 5, 2012
Medical malpractice claims incur substantial defense costs

(HealthDay) -- Defense costs for medical malpractice claims vary among specialties and are higher for claims that result in indemnity payments, according to a letter published in the April 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

To investigate the degree of variation in defense costs across specialties, Seth Seabury, Ph.D., from the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif., and colleagues analyzed defense costs associated with 26,853 malpractice claims covered by a nationwide professional liability insurer, closed between 1995 and 2005, among 40,916 . Defense costs included factors directly linked with the cost of defending an individual claim, but not factors that could be spread across multiple claims.

The researchers found that the mean defense cost associated with claims was $22,959 ± 41,687. Significantly higher costs were seen for those claims in which an indemnity was paid ($45,070 versus $17,130). There was considerable variation across specialties, with the mean defense cost for a claim resulting in an indemnity ranging from $83,056 in cardiology and $78,890 in oncology to $24,007 in dermatology and $23,780 in ophthalmology. In all specialties, the mean defense costs were lower in cases that did not result in indemnity, with costs ranging from $7,283 in nephrology to $25,073 in gynecology.

"These findings show that although the costs of dispute resolution are higher for claims that result in indemnity payments, there is still a meaningful cost of resolving claims that never result in payment," the authors conclude.

Explore further: Workers' comp research provides insight into curbing health-care costs

More information: Full Text

Related Stories

True cost of medical malpractice

August 23, 2011

The debates over health care reform may soon become more informed. A new study undertaken by a group of researchers, including Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Professor Amitabh Chandra, provides a detailed snapshot of U.S. medical ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria in smokeless tobacco products may be a health concern

August 26, 2016

Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 26 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American ...

Is tailgating toxic?

August 26, 2016

While tailgating this football season you may want to take a step back from the grill and generator—for your health.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.