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Common ObGyn Liability Claims Result Large Awards for Victims

Medical liability claims for the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology are among the highest in the industry. Historically, the ObGyn specialty was the first group to undergo universal risk management across the country because it is a higher risk practice that involves injuries to infants. Additionally, legal claims for birth injuries to babies often result in multi-million awards to the injured baby.

One way to evaluate the costs of birth injury lawsuits is to evaluate the insurance claims for birth injuries and other pregnancy-related medical malpractice. Whether the doctor and his or her insurance company settle a birth injury claim or go to trial, the doctor's malpractice insurance carrier is likely to be involved in the legal proceeding.

According to a new data report from the Physicians Insurance Association of America, insurance payouts for ObGyn medical liability claims remain very high, with costs rising every year. In 2010 over $55 million was paid out for ObGyn liability claims. The $55 million was primarily paid out for the top ten most common ObGyn conditions for claims that were closed in 2010.

The most common condition leading to a malpractice award was pregnancy followed by brain-damaged infant, menstruation disorders and abnormal bleeding, normal delivery, benign neoplasms of the uterus, endometriosis, care or intervention of labor and delivery, early onset of delivery, shoulder dystocia, and abdominal and pelvis symptoms.

The 105 legal claims for pregnancy were over double the next amount of claims for brain-damaged infant. The total indemnity paid for pregnancy was the most at $16,503,179 and the lowest amount of $1,250,000 was for early onset of delivery. The highest average indemnity was $1,250,000 for early onset of delivery, while the lowest average was $120,368 for abdominal and pelvis symptoms. The highest percentage of claims paid was 50 percent for abdominal and pelvis symptoms; the lowest percentage paid was 3.6 percent for early onset of delivery; and the average percentage paid for all of the top ten ObGyn condition claims was about 35 percent.

The top ObGyn procedures for which liability claims were filed and paid out were operations on the uterus, deliveries that were manually assisted and cesarean section deliveries. Operations on the uterus had the highest amount of claims, but claims for cesarean section deliveries had the highest total indemnity and highest average indemnity of $37,313,875 and $632,439, respectively. Improper performance of a medical procedure had the highest amount of claims for "medical misadventures" and highest total indemnity of $51,855,957.

When a mother or infant is injured during delivery it can result in expensive medical bills as well as potential long-term and expensive physical challenges to overcome. That fact that indemnities for ObGyn claims continue to pay out at fairly high rates can be seen as good news for mothers and infants who seek compensation for birth injuries. To learn more about the legal rights of an injured mother or baby, contact a birth injury attorney.

BirthInjuryInfo.org™

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