Jury awards remain level over past three years

Jury awards for medical malpractice have remained level for the past three years, according to an analysis released recently by Jury Verdict Research, a company in Horsham, PA, that maintains a national database of verdicts and settlements.

The latest analysis shows that while median malpractice jury awards more than doubled from 1996 to 2000, the awards have remained level since then, according to the report "Current Award Trends in Personal Injury." The median malpractice jury award in 2002, the latest year included in the report, was $1.01 million, a small increase from $1 million in 2001 and 2001.

In 1996, the median award was $473,000. About 52% of malpractice jury verdicts have been for $1 million or more since 1999. The report also shows that physicians still win most medical malpractice cases — 58% in 2002, down slightly from 60% the year before.

The steady medical malpractice figures are in contrast to overall personal injury liabilities, which fell significantly in the same period. The median jury award for personal injury cases fell 30% in 2002 to $30,000, from $43,000 in 2001.