Medical Malpractice Payouts By State

Wondering what the medical malpractice payouts are for your state? Check out the latest data for medical malpractice payouts by state below. Your state’s rank might surprise you! 

Where you live can affect the compensation you could receive for your medical malpractice claim. Certain states pay out more than others. And some pay out very little relative to the rest. Let’s start with the factors that weigh into the equation.

Map of all 50 United States.

What Factors Impact Medical Malpractice Payouts?

Damages vary widely from one medical malpractice lawsuit to another. There aren’t any specific amounts set, such as “1 million for misdiagnosing cancer “ or “2 million for loss of a limb”. 

Payouts are determined on a case-by-case basis, as medical malpractice lawsuits have a wide variety of damages, forms of negligence and expenses. For example, your compensation should cover your medical expenses, like surgeries and hospital stays. These numbers vary widely, from medical malpractice case to case. It should make up for past and future lost wages. You can also recover damages for non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

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

  • The type and gravity of negligence 
  • The severity of the injury
  • How much of an impact your medical malpractice-related injuries have on your life
  • How much medical care you’ll need in the future
  • The amount of evidence you provide to prove your claim
  • The strength of your medical records and overall evidence
  • Economic and non-economic damages
  • Testimony from medical experts
  • Your age
  • The ability of your medical malpractice attorney
  • The medical malpractice laws and regulations in your jurisdiction
  • The quality of legal representation
  • Insurance coverage
  • Impact of your injury on partners/family members 

There’s one more factor affecting how much you might collect: federal and state laws. The federal government has a $250,000 cap for non-economic damages. And some states limit non-economic damages even further. Other states have a hard cap that can’t be exceeded, no matter how much a victim has suffered and what types of losses they claim. 

Unfortunately, these caps tend to protect doctors and their insurance companies more than victims of malpractice. They can dramatically reduce a patient’s total payout. That’s why, as you peruse the medical malpractice payouts by state, you may notice that some states have many medical malpractice cases, but measly payouts. 

Medical Malpractice Payouts By State

The statistics from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) show medical malpractice payouts by state. You can use their data analysis tool to see the most recent data yourself.

You can find information for all US states (and Puerto Rico) in alphabetical order below. Payment amounts are in the millions of dollars, and this data is from 2021.

StateNumber of CasesTotal PayoutsThe Average Payout per Case
Alabama71$43.07 million$0.61 million
Alaska13$3.97 million$0.31 million
Arizona158$61.80 million$0.39 million
Arkansas46$13.06 million$0.28 million
California869$201.07 million$0.23 million
Colorado96$28.65 million$0.30 million
Connecticut107$63.25 million$0.59 million
Delaware18$10.39 million$0.58 million
D.C.23$9.46 million$0.41 million
Florida1,034$306.27 million$0.30 million
Georgia239$102.64 million$0.43 million
Hawaii32$12.11 million$0.38 million
Idaho30$6.62 million$0.22 million
Illinois285$125.06 million$0.44 million
Indiana297$67.25 million$0.23 million
Iowa44$31.05 million$0.71 million
Kansas109$28.25 million$0.26 million
Kentucky113$28.26 million$0.25 million
Louisiana217$46.79 million$0.22 million
Maine30$21.31 million$0.71 million
Maryland224$91.03 million$0.41 million
Massachusetts199$120.10 million$0.60 million
Michigan272$67.17 million$0.25 million
Minnesota40$31.31 million$0.78 million
Mississippi62$31.80 million$0.51 million
Missouri173$59.93 million$0.35 million
Montana46$11.29 million$0.25 million
Nebraska29$8.42 million$0.29 million
Nevada80$26.95 million$0.34 million
New Hampshire49$18.34 million$0.37 million
New Jersey378$150.52 million$0.40 million
New Mexico107$35.31 million$0.33 million
New York907$418.08 million$0.46 million
North Carolina125$43.04 million$0.34 million
North Dakota9$2.59 million$0.29 million
Ohio201$74.27 million$0.37 million
Oklahoma129$34.99 million$0.27 million
Oregon86$47.17 million$0.55 million
Pennsylvania610$240.98 million$0.40 million
Rhode Island48$25.53 million$0.53 million
South Carolina137$44.32 million$0.32 million
South Dakota11$2.92 million$0.27 million
Tennessee108$29.76 million$0.28 million
Texas477$94.05 million$0.20 million
Utah72$21.56 million$0.30 million
Vermont7$2.31 million$0.33 million
Virginia116$38.52 million$0.33 million
Washington142$65.59 million$0.46 million
West Virginia103$49.27 million$0.48 million
Wisconsin48$29.16 million$0.61 million
Wyoming8$2.53 million$0.32 million
Puerto Rico168$9.43 million$0.06 million
Skyline of New York City.

Which States Have the Highest & Lowest Payouts?

Highest Payouts

New York has the highest payout amount in medical malpractice cases. In 2021, payouts topped $400 million. From 2009 to 2019, medical malpractice payments totaled $7.025 billion. Pennsylvania and California have some of the highest payouts in the US as well. (Imagine the medical malpractice insurance in those states!)

Lowest Payouts

At the moment, Vermont is the state with the lowest payouts. The state had 7 medical malpractice cases in 2021, with payments totaling $2.31 million. Wyoming and South Dakota are two more states with lower payouts compared to the rest of the country.

A higher number of cases doesn’t always mean higher payouts in a state. Notice that Florida has the highest number of cases at 1,034. Even so, the Sunshine State’s total payments hover around $300 million. 

Why do some states have lower payments? Well, wages and living expenses vary in different regions of the US, for one. In addition, healthcare costs affect medical malpractice payouts by state.  

What States Have a Cap on Medical Malpractice Claims?

If you see your state in the list below, that generally means you can only get compensated up to a set amount with your medical malpractice lawsuit. That said, that’s not always the case – we’ll explain this more below.

  • Texas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Wisconsin
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Arkansas
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Virginia
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • North Dakota
  • New Mexico
  • Utah

Each state has very specific rules unique to that state, about what’s capped and how much the cap is. Some states only cap non-economic damages (pain and suffering for example). Others cap punitive damages as well. Also, some states have a fixed amount for their cap, while others adjust their cap for inflation. So the cap for your medical malpractice case depends on your state.

What’s the Average Medical Malpractice Settlement & Payout?

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that the medical malpractice average payout is $329,565 in the United States. Pathology is ranked at #1 for highest average payout; $473,957 on average. And following just behind we have neurosurgery ($469,222), gastroenterology ($390,538), general practice ($235,789) and dermatology ($189,065).

But that’s just on the medical malpractice settlements side of things. Court cases that go the distance? Try closer to $1 million – in the cases that go to trial, juries often award the plaintiff with a much bigger award, often closing in on $1 million.

Looking to pursue a medical malpractice claim in Texas? Our medical malpractice attorneys go above and beyond to obtain maximum compensation. Consult our attorneys now, at no cost to you!