Average award per liability claim up for third year in Missouri

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 21, 2005

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The average award per medical liability claim in Missouri rose for the third consecutive year, a trend state legislators are hoping will reverse after tort reforms take effect, a state report said.

The Missouri Medical Malpractice Insurance Report, which the state's Dept. of Insurance released last month, reported that the average award per claim was $252,666 in 2004. Awards per claim were $166,623 in 2001, $207,627 in 2002 and $212,006 in 2003, the report showed.

But there were some positive signs, according to the study. Payments per claim for hospitals declined to $177,740 in 2004, down from $195,034 in 2003. Also, insurers reported positive underwriting results -- meaning they were taking in more money than they were paying out -- for the first time in five years, the report said.

Earlier this year, the state passed several tort reform measures, including a $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages. Legislators and other officials say they hope the measures will help stabilize the state's medical liability market.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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