A new report released this week by the Ohio Department of Insurance says the number of medical malpractice claims in the state dropped 20 percent from 2005 to 2006.
The report says there were 4,006 medical malpractice claims reported for 2006, compared with 5,051 for 2005.
The department attributed the drop to changes made by lawmakers five years ago as they tried to deal with growing concern about the number of claims and the size of jury verdicts.
Some of those changes included caps on the amount of money injured patients could receive for pain-and-suffering, and attempts to restrict so-called frivolous lawsuits against doctors.
The report found that the size of claims rose during the same period. In 2006, the average claim in which a payment was made was $288,080, up from $269,374 in 2005.
The report also found that in both years four out of every five claims ended without a payment to the person making the claim.
Lawmakers trying to address the problem of medical malpractice in Ohio required the Insurance Department to compile data on claims and issue the reports.
The new report is the first chance to measure trends over time.
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