Those in the Kansas City area who hear opinions that medical malpractice payments are getting handed out like candy here need to understand that the hard numbers tell a different story. In fact, is far from the top of the list, relative to its sister states, when it comes to medical malpractice claims. Our state falls in the middle for all key statistics, at least according to one report.
Per 1 million residents, the state has almost 33 malpractice claims, meaning the state ranks 21st in the country. However, per 100 doctors who practice in this state, fewer than 1 claim, .90 to be exact, gets filed. With respect to this number, our state ranks 25th among the states.
In terms of dollars paid, we are pretty average. Averaging out all malpractice claims, each resident accounts for $9.57 of medical malpractice payments. This number is lower, $8.13 per resident, when one excludes all medical professionals except for doctors in the traditional sense, that is, those one would find at a hospital or clinic.
As has been the case throughout the country, the number of medical malpractice claims has been steadily dropping in this state. In 1991, Missouri had almost 450 paid claims against medical professionals. By 2017, this number had shrunk by more than 50%, down to around 180 paid claims.
But, the dollar amount of paid claims has, generally speaking, remained between $50 million and $75 million annually. This is so despite the fact that Missouri had a damages cap in place between 2005 and 2012, when the state's highest court declared the cap unconstitutional.