Over the past three years, U.S. jury awards in medical malpractice cases have leveled off, following on several years of skyrocketing payouts. While median compensatory awards in med mal cases exploded 100% between 1996 and 2000, they have remained steady at around the US$1 million mark in 2001 and 2002, reports Jury Verdict Research. In 2002, med mal compensatory awards grew to US$1.01 million, up from US$1 million the year prior. “It’s safe to say the trend is no trend,” comments Jennifer Shannon, Jury Verdict Research managing editor. In total, about 52% of med mal verdicts were US$1 million or more since 1999. And the majority of cases were found in favor of defendants, however plaintiff recovery was up 2% in 2002. Overall, 42% of plaintiffs received awards, although this figure rises to 60% in the case of childbirth negligence cases. Nonetheless, plaintiffs are increasing on the winning end of lawsuits, compared to 1996 when the recovery rate was 29%. In personal injury cases, overall compensatory awards dropped in 2002, 30% below 2001. The median jury award for compensatory damages was US$30,000 in 2002, the lowest level in several years. On premises liability cases, the median award rose to US$150,000, while the plaintiff recovery rate dropped 4% to 49%. In products liability cases, the median jury award dropped 7% to US$1.8 million, but plaintiff recovery was up 5% to 61%.