Number of medical malpractice claims drops, but claim size rises

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Medical malpractice claims in the U.S. are on the decline, according to a new study.

While medical malpractice claims have dropped by 1% over the past year, according to the analysis by Chicago-based Aon the average size of malpractice claims has risen 7.5%.

Legislative reforms are contributing to the reduction in claims, according to Greg Larcher, author of the analysis. Also contributing to the decline is a heightened awareness of quality patient care and improved patient safety, according to Aon analysts.

For the study, the company examined a database containing 53,000 non-zero claims, representing $4.5 billion of incurred losses, for 1995 to 2004. The study analysis is co-sponsored by the American Society of Healthcare Risk Managers (ASHRM).