Reports assess liability situation

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 25, 2006

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The number of medical liability lawsuit filings is stabilizing, but the severity of claims and the cost of defending them remains significant, according to Aon's "2006 Hospital Professional Liability and Physician Liability Benchmark Analysis."

The report showed that lawsuit filings did not increase in 2005, compared with a 1% drop in 2004.

The money spent to defend liability lawsuits is growing at a rate of 17%, according to the study of 47,735 claims closed in 2005 against hospitals and physicians.

The report projected that the average size of awards is growing at a rate of 6%, down from a 7.5% projected growth rate in last year's report.

A November report by the Tennessee Dept. of Commerce & Insurance revealed that total defense costs reported during 2005 for open and closed claims was $62 million, up 138% from $26 million in 2004.

Eighty-three percent of the 2,827 claims closed in 2005 resulted in no payments, compared with 81% in 2004, the study said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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