Median awards on an upward trend in cases

Plaintiff awards for medical malpractice cases are on the rise, according to a report from Jury Verdict Research, a company in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, that analyzes verdicts. Plaintiffs received a median malpractice award of $1.2 million in 2003, up from $1 million in 2002.

But there is some good news in the numbers, says Jennifer Shannon, managing editor of the company's reports.

"Even though we're showing the median medical malpractice award is a bit higher in 2003, we are still showing that the odds of a plaintiff receiving a favorable verdict are relatively low," she says. "The new study reports that plaintiffs have a 36% chance of receiving a favorable verdict."

Since 1997, the award median for medical malpractice cases has been increasing, except for a small decrease in 2001, and the trend continues through 2003. The median award for medical malpractice, overall from 1997 through 2003, is $753,901. The award median reflects the middle value of awards listed in ascending order, so Shannon says it provides the most accurate gauge of nationwide trends.