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How Much is a Medical Malpractice Case Worth?

March 8, 2021

Of course there are many factors that enter into the equation, but the average settlement value for a medical malpractice lawsuit in the U.S. is around $300,000 to $380,000. The average plaintiff’s jury verdict in a malpractice case is about $1 million.

Again, the value of a medical malpractice claim can vary greatly depending on the severity of the injuries suffered, the specific facts of the case, and the types and amount of evidence that can be gathered.

Do Most Medical Malpractice Cases Settle or Go to Trial?

About nine out of every 10 medical malpractice cases end in an out-of-court settlement of some kind. That means that just 10% of medical malpractice cases proceed to trial and are resolved by a jury. Of those jury trials, the plaintiff is successful only about 20% of the time.

When you add it all up, roughly 75% of victims who file a medical malpractice case wind up receiving money.

When a plaintiff receives his or her money is another important question. The average length of time between the filing of a medical malpractice claim with the court to when the case is resolved is roughly 28 months, and this includes the majority which are concluded by an out-of-court settlement.

Are There Limits on Damages in Michigan?

Yes. In January 2021, the State of Michigan Department of Treasury announced the 2021 limitations on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice claims. The “upper cap” was increased to a limit of $851,000, and the “lower cap” was adjusted to a maximum award of $476,600.

These limitations were enacted by Michigan Statute § 600.1483, which defines “non-economic loss” as “damages or loss due to pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, or physical disfigurement, loss of society and companionship, … loss of consortium, or other noneconomic loss.”

The two limitations on noneconomic damages are called the “upper cap” and the “lower cap.” The upper cap comes into play if the medical malpractice victim claims an injury that falls into one or more of these categories:

  1. The result of the medical malpractice is that the plaintiff is hemiplegic, paraplegic, or quadriplegic with total permanent functional loss of one or more limbs caused by an injury to the brain and/or spinal cord;
  2. The plaintiff suffers permanently impaired cognitive capacity making him or her incapable of making independent, reasonable life decisions, and permanently incapable of independently performing normal daily living activities; or
  3. The plaintiff’s injuries have resulted in permanent loss of or damage to a reproductive organ resulting in his or her inability to have children.

The lower cap is applicable to all other cases of medical malpractice.

In some cases, the losses that victims suffer when they’re hurt or experience get worse and aren’t easy to discover. This makes it hard to know the true financial cost of that injury. However, an experienced and skilled Michigan medical malpractice attorney at Buchanan Firm can work with medical experts to understand how your injury should be compensated.

What are Economic and Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages are damages that include things like pain and suffering, disfigurement, the loss of quality of life, disability, and the loss of consortium or companionship.

Again, non-economic damages are capped, but there’s no limit on the amount of economic damages patients may be awarded. These include monetary losses suffered because of an accident, as well as hospital and other medical bills, loss of earning capacity, lost income, vocational rehabilitation, household services, along with any out-of-pocket expenses that are related to your injuries.


Settlement and trial preparations are crucial in a successful Michigan medical malpractice claim. This includes understanding the “caps” in Michigan for non-economic damages. Because of this, you should work with an experienced and skilled Michigan medical malpractice attorney.

If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to the negligence of a physician, surgeon, nurse, clinic, or hospital, you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney at Buchanan Firm. For a free consultation, contact us.

Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital to accommodate you.