In this interesting Editorial, the American Medical Association discusses several important developments in the medical liability landscape in the United States.
For instance, California’s $250,000 noneconomic damages cap was upheld by an appellate court in September 2011. West Virginia’s cap of the same amount was declared constitutional by the state’s high court in June 2011. As a consequence, liability premiums in tort reform states lowered or at least stabilized. On the other hand, in 2010, the Georgia Supreme Court found that state’s $350,000 cap unconstitutional, and the Illinois Supreme Court did the same with the Illinois cap of $500,000. Legal challenges are being waged in Missouri, Indiana and elsewhere.
A report from the American Medical Association, issued in November 2011, found that the average expense to defend against a medical liability claim in 2010 was $47,158. About two in three claims against doctors were dropped, dismissed or withdrawn without payment in 2010, but expenses handling even those dead-end claims average $26,851.