May 27, 2011

According to the State of West Virginia Medical Malpractice Report from November, 2009, medical malpractice insurance companies had an operating profit in West Virginia from 2004 through 2006 and again in 2008.

As of 2009, West Virginia averaged 280 malpractice claims per year (down from 285 in 2007 and a high of 327 in 2001). The drop in the number of claims since 2001 (a drop of 52% from 2001 to 2008) may be explained by a change in West Virginia law in 2001 that required that a certificate of merit be obtained prior to filing a medical malpractice claim against a health care provider. 

During the previous 16 years, 31% of medical malpractice claims were dismissed.  On average, about 9% of medical malpractice claims go to court. Of the claims that do go to court, about 30% result in a judgment in favor of the claimant. On average, 60% of medical malpractice claims are settled without  court involvement.

For the period from 1994 to 2008, there was a general historical decline in the number of judgments with payment and there was a general historical increase in the average annual amount of judgments resulting in payments over the same period. However, the number of judgments in each year was very small and the actual paid amounts can vary significantly from year to year. For the same period, settlements comprised the most common resolution for claim payments; 51 settlements exceeded $1,000,000 (an average of 3.4 per year); the average settlement over $1,000,000 was $1,907,024 (the average for 2006 and prior years was slightly more than $2,000,000); and, the combined average paid settlement from 1993 to 2000 was $186,586 and the combined average paid settlement  from 2001 to 2008 was $235,801 (however, the actual number of settlements occurring since 2001 indicated a general decline in the frequency of paid settlements).

In 2008, there were 549 claims of which 133 were paid (416 were not paid). In 2008, there were 178 medical malpractice actions filed in court in West Virginia (the prior seven year average was 209).

In 2008, there were 5,594 actively licensed physicians in West Virginia. There was an increase in actively licensed physicians in each year from 2004 to 2008.

There were 57 insurance companies that reported writing medical malpractice insurance policies in West Virginia. By far the most policies were written by the West Virginia medical mutual company, West Virginia Mutual, which has the most significant total market share in West Virginia. 

In 2008, medical malpractice insurance in West Virginia continued to demonstrate highly favorable results, culminating in the lowest overall loss ratio on record. Total premium volume for 2008 declined to a level comparable to 2003, yet total incurred loss for 2008 concluded with an overall take-down in loss reserves indicating that the recent favorable past experience may be more promising than previously believed. During 2008, medical malpractice rates remained stable.

If you were injured as a result of medical negligence in West Virginia or in any other State in the U.S., visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your area to assist you with your medical malpractice claim. You may also reach us toll free 800-295-3959.