This figure represents the total amount paid in Nebraska divided by the total population of the state. You can see the entire report here. By my math, that equates to approximately $9 million in claims paid in Nebraska in 2010.
Iowa was almost twice as much at $8.98 per person. Punitive damages anyone?
At roughly $5/person, Nebraska’s medical malpractice payout seems reasonable, especially when compared to New York’s $34.39.
This all implicates Nebraska’s cap on damages in medical malpractice claims. One side of the argument in favor of the cap is that Nebraska’s cap has worked, keeping claims low. The flip side is that in the event of a catastrophic claim, the State (read: taxpayers) is on the hook for caring for an individual disabled by malpractice while the doctor or hospital, and their insurance company, are free and clear.
While this debate will continue, the low payouts is just one more reason why Nebraska is a great state to live and practice medicine in.