Top 10 States with the Most Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare professionals deviate from the standard of care, leading to patient harm. The frequency of medical malpractice cases varies significantly across the United States, influenced by factors such as the number of practicing healthcare professionals, state laws, and reporting practices. Here, we explore the top 10 states with the most medical malpractice cases, shedding light on the regions where patients are most likely to file claims.

1. New York

New York consistently ranks among the top states for medical malpractice cases. With a large population and numerous healthcare facilities, the state sees a high number of claims each year. New York’s legal environment, which is relatively favorable to plaintiffs, also contributes to the high incidence of malpractice lawsuits.

Key Statistics:

  • In 2019, New York had 1,451 medical malpractice cases filed.
  • The state has one of the highest total payouts for medical malpractice claims.

2. California

California, with its vast healthcare system, also sees a significant number of medical malpractice cases. The state’s MICRA (Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act) limits non-economic damages, which impacts the nature of settlements.

Key Statistics:

  • California had 1,231 cases filed in 2019.
  • Despite MICRA, the total payouts remain high due to the large number of cases.

3. Florida

Florida’s large elderly population contributes to the high number of medical malpractice claims, as older patients typically require more medical care, increasing the risk of errors.

Key Statistics:

  • In 2019, Florida saw 1,175 medical malpractice cases filed.
  • The state frequently appears in the top three for total malpractice payouts.

4. Texas

Texas implemented tort reform in 2003, which capped non-economic damages. However, the state still experiences a substantial number of malpractice cases due to its size and healthcare demand.

Key Statistics:

  • Texas had 1,049 cases filed in 2019.
  • The cap on damages has slightly reduced the average payout per case.

5. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has a long history of medical malpractice litigation, with Philadelphia being a particularly active jurisdiction for these cases.

Key Statistics:

  • Pennsylvania saw 943 cases filed in 2019.
  • The state’s average payout per case is among the highest in the nation.

6. New Jersey

New Jersey’s dense population and numerous healthcare facilities contribute to its high number of medical malpractice cases. The state’s legal framework also plays a role in the frequency of claims.

Key Statistics:

  • In 2019, New Jersey had 884 medical malpractice cases filed.
  • The state often ranks in the top ten for total payouts.

7. Illinois

Illinois, particularly Cook County, is known for its active legal environment concerning medical malpractice. The state’s judiciary tends to favor plaintiffs, leading to a high number of filings and significant payouts.

Key Statistics:

  • Illinois saw 860 cases filed in 2019.
  • The state has one of the highest average payouts per case.

8. Massachusetts

Massachusetts, with its concentration of world-renowned medical institutions, paradoxically also sees a high number of medical malpractice claims. The complexity of cases in such advanced medical environments often leads to litigation.

Key Statistics:

  • Massachusetts had 723 cases filed in 2019.
  • The state’s total payouts are relatively high due to the complex nature of many cases.

9. Maryland

Maryland’s proximity to the nation’s capital and its substantial healthcare infrastructure contribute to the number of medical malpractice cases. The state has a mixed legal environment that can favor both plaintiffs and defendants.

Key Statistics:

  • In 2019, Maryland saw 710 medical malpractice cases filed.
  • The state has a moderate average payout per case.

10. Ohio

Ohio has a balanced legal environment but still sees a significant number of medical malpractice cases due to its large population and extensive healthcare system.

Key Statistics:

  • Ohio had 678 cases filed in 2019.
  • The state has implemented caps on non-economic damages, which affects the average payout.

Factors Influencing Medical Malpractice Cases

Several factors contribute to the frequency of medical malpractice cases in these states:

Population Size and Density

States with larger populations naturally have more healthcare interactions, increasing the likelihood of medical errors and subsequent malpractice claims.

Legal Environment

The state’s legal framework, including caps on damages and the burden of proof required, significantly impacts the number of malpractice cases filed. States with more plaintiff-friendly laws see higher case numbers.

Healthcare Infrastructure

States with more healthcare facilities and professionals, especially those with advanced medical institutions, often experience more malpractice claims due to the complexity and volume of care provided.

Public Awareness

In some states, higher public awareness and more aggressive legal advertising can lead to more patients pursuing malpractice claims.


Understanding the landscape of medical malpractice across different states is crucial for both healthcare professionals and patients. While the number of cases varies widely, the common thread is the need for a robust and fair legal system to address these claims.

For those in San Diego or elsewhere in California, navigating the complexities of medical malpractice can be daunting. If you or a loved one has been affected by medical negligence, it is essential to seek experienced legal counsel to guide you through the process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact a San Diego medical malpractice lawyer today to discuss your case and understand your legal options.


  1. American Medical Association
  2. National Practitioner Data Bank
  3. Medical Malpractice Center
  4. California Department of Public Health
  5. New York State Department of Health
  6. Texas Medical Board
  7. Florida Department of Health
  8. Pennsylvania Department of Health
  9. New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
  10. Massachusetts Department of Public Health