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Medical Malpractice Arbitration

Sunday, December, 9, 2012


According to a study completed by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the average compensation for medical malpractice that occurred in the inpatient setting was around $363,000, while the average award for healthcare mistakes in the outpatient setting was about $290,000. The New England Journal of Medicine found even higher numbers, stating that the average compensation in medical malpractice claims was about $485,000, with average jury awards after a verdict in court being almost twice the average out-of-court settlement ($799,000 for jury awards and $462,000 for settlements).

With these numbers, it isn’t difficult to see why medical malpractice places a significant financial burden on the health care industry.  The cost of litigation is enormous and trials can be lengthy, causing a loss of valuable time and wages for a health care professional.  In addition, medical professionals are forced to pay astronomical medical malpractice insurance costs to cushion their practices from a medical malpractice judgment.  So what is the solution?

One suggestion made by reformers is to focus on medical malpractice arbitration.  With the rising costs of health insurance and medical malpractice insurance, reformers are always looking for ways to reduce the burden that medical malpractice cases place on the health care industry.  In replacing jury trials with arbitration hearings, medical malpractice claims can be settled with an out-of-court agreement, saving money and time for everyone involved in the dispute. 

Since jury trials often end in large awards, some reformers believe that an arbitrator will be less likely to gouge doctors and insurance carriers for millions of dollars, thus bringing down the expense of medical malpractice.  And from the numbers listed above, this seems to prove true.  A medical malpractice arbitrator is skilled in the area of medical malpractice law and understands the legal issues surrounding a medical malpractice claim.  He or she has had extensive experience in the medical malpractice legal arena and will be able to advise both sides about the legal ramifications involved with the case. 

As a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution, medical malpractice arbitration is a way to ensure that each side has the opportunity to state their case and provide evidence to back up their claim. A medical malpractice arbitrator then looks at the details of the case and makes a decision that is legally binding for both parties involved.