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April 24th, 2012 posted by Paul Rega, MD, FACEP April 24, 2012 @ 4:22 am

Defense of medical malpractice claims: $22,959±41,687 (on average)

Source reference:
Seabury S, et al “Defense costs of medical malpractice claims” N Engl J Med 2012; 366: 1354-1356.

“……The mean (±SD) defense cost associated with claims was $22,959±41,687. Claims in which an indemnity payment was made were associated with higher mean defense costs than claims with no payment ($45,070 vs. $17,130, P<0.001). Mean defense costs varied considerably across specialties, both among claims with and without indemnity payments……. For example, mean defense costs per claim resulting in an indemnity payment were $83,056 in cardiology and $78,890 in oncology, as compared with $24,007 in dermatology and $23,780 in ophthalmology. We found that mean defense costs in cases that did not result in indemnity claims were lower in all specialties, but there was still significant variation (from $7,283 in nephrology to $25,073 in gynecology)……..

These findings show that…..there is still a meaningful cost of resolving claims that never result in payment. Moreover, there is substantial variation in these costs across specialties……. Lowering the costs of dispute resolution could lead to considerable savings for physicians and insurers, particularly in specialties with high mean defense costs.”

Seth Seabury, Ph.D.
RAND, Santa Monica, CA

Amitabh Chandra, Ph.D.
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Darius Lakdawalla, Ph.D.
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Anupam B. Jena, M.D., Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

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