How Much is the Average Malpractice Settlement?

Pursuing a malpractice claim? You might wonder what the average malpractice settlement amount is in the U.S., or in your state. And what’s the average malpractice settlement for cases similar to yours? 

Take a look at the following statistics to see what you might be able to gain from your claim. Prefer to discuss your case with a malpractice attorney? Drop us a line here. 

Calculating value of malpractice settlement.

Average Malpractice Settlement Statistics

Years ago, a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) estimated the average malpractice settlement to be $329,565. That estimate has grown over the years. 

We pulled 2022 payout data from the National Practitioner Data Bank. Here’s what we found:

  • The total amount of malpractice payouts for 2022 was $3,570.73 million.
  • There were 9,778 malpractice payment reports in the U.S. in 2022. 
  • The total amount for the state of Texas was $131.47 million. 
  • There were 520 malpractice payment reports in Texas in 2022. 

From those statistics, the average malpractice settlement for 2022 was about $365,000. The average malpractice settlement in Texas in 2022 was about $252,800. 

You can access the most recent data (plus data for other states) with the NPDB analysis tool. 

Factors That Influence Your Settlement Amount

Malpractice settlement amounts vary widely. They can go as low as a few thousand dollars, and as high as a few million (or more!) 

Many factors influence the exact amount of your payout. They include:

  • Your age
  • Your overall health
  • The type and gravity of negligence 
  • Past and future medical expenses related to the malpractice
  • Loss of income and earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering, emotional distress
  • How much of an impact your malpractice-related injuries have on your life
  • How much medical care you’ll need in the future
  • Punitive damages, in the case of egregious negligence
  • The amount of evidence you provide to prove your claim
  • The quality of the evidence you provide to prove your claim
  • Testimony from medical experts
  • Impact of your injury on partners/family members 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Jurisdictional limits, if applicable

What Does a Malpractice Settlement Cover?

A malpractice settlement is an agreement between a healthcare provider and the patient they harmed. It involves a monetary payment in exchange for the patient agreeing not to take further legal action.

The purpose of a malpractice settlement is to pay for damages that stem from your injury. These include damages you can put a dollar amount on (economic), and the kind you can’t (non-economic).

In general, a malpractice settlement could cover these damages:

  • Medical expenses. This includes past and present medical treatment costs. (Rehabilitation, therapy, hospital bills). 
  • Lost wages. If the patient was unable to work due to their injuries, a settlement might provide compensation for lost wages.
  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for physical pain and emotional distress.
  • Other damages: The settlement could cover additional expenses depending on the circumstances. For example, future medical expenses, home healthcare, and modifications to the patient’s home or vehicle to accommodate their injuries.

Settlement or Trial? How Can I Recover More Damages?

Did you know that most medical malpractice lawsuits settle out of court? Very few go to trial. In most cases, that’s a good thing. Trials cost more and can drag on for months or years. Plus, going to trial doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a bigger award. 

The National Library of Medicine published a study called “Twenty Years of Evidence on the Outcomes of Malpractice Claims.”

Here are two of its eye-opening findings:

  • The amount paid in settlement drops as the strength of the patient’s evidence weakens.
  • Physicians win 80% to 90% of jury trials with weak evidence of medical negligence.

If you want to maximize your settlement or win at trial, you need evidence. Lots of it! Part of this evidence should include expert medical opinions. You can obtain those with the help of a medical malpractice attorney. 

In addition, certain types of cases tend to command higher settlement values. For example:

  • Mistakes that impair the patient for life. 
  • Wrongful death cases.
  • Cases involving extreme neglect or sub-par care.  
  • Birth errors that cause brain injuries or death.

According to the Knowles Group, some severe cases can settle for upwards of $1 million, depending on the circumstances. But what about cases involving patients with major injuries, but who are able to recover with treatment? The average malpractice settlement amount for those cases is $100,000 to $500,000. If a patient files a claim for a short-term injury due to a minor error, the amount may be closer to $30,000 or less. 

Victim of malpractice looks over settlement details.

Hampton & King’s Malpractice Awards

Our clients trust us because not only do we provide compassionate advocacy, we get results. Here are just a few of the malpractice settlements and awards we’ve obtained:

  • $6,500,000 award. Negligent fetal heart monitoring caused HIE.
  • $6,000,000 award. Postpartum hemorrhage resulted in brain damage.
  • $4,200,000 award. Negligent PACU monitoring caused brain damage. 

See more case results here. Remember, case results may vary. Ready to discuss your case with an expert malpractice attorney? Contact us for a free consultation.