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Number of paid medical malpractice claims falling

A recent study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that the number of payments made for medical malpractice claims has fallen drastically since 2002.

The study, which was led by a researcher at Stanford Law School, reviewed data from New York, California, Illinois, Tennessee and Colorado between 2002 and 2013. The researchers found that the number of medical malpractice claims that were paid fell to 9.9 percent from 18.6 percent per 1,000 doctors. However, the researchers also found that the cost of liability insurance and the amount of compensation payments stayed the same or decreased recently.

The amount of compensation paid on claims from 1994-2007 had increased 5 percent annually, but after 2007, the amount fell an average 1.1 percent each year.

According to the researchers, premiums for California, Tennessee and Illinois medical malpractice insurance for obstetrician-gynecologists and internists fell 36 percent between 2004 and 2013. General surgeons saw decreases of 30 percent. In New York, the rates rose for surgeons, internists and ob-gyns. Colorado had increases in premiums for surgeons and ob-gyns, but decreases for internists.

Even though the payouts for medical malpractice claims has fallen significantly, it does not mean that holding doctors, medical staff and medical entities responsible for negligence is not worth it. If you have suffered an injury because of doctors' errors, you have the right to seek compensation. Even though this study did not concentrate on Connecticut, it's important to remember that a doctor's negligence can happen anywhere. Holding negligent doctors responsible may help prevent someone else from going through the same thing.

Source: U.S. New and World Report, "Fewer Malpractice Claims Paid in U.S." Robert Preidt, Oct. 30, 2014

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