CHICAGO, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Hospitals and physicians should prepare for increasing liability costs , according to the 2010 Hospital Professional Liability and Physician Liability Benchmark Analysis  created by Aon Risk Solutions , the global risk management  business of Aon  Corporation (NYSE: AON ), in conjunction with the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management .
In its 11th year, the study confirms an emerging change in the liability environment: The frequency of claims against hospitals has entered a growth phase. Combined with continued claim severity growth, this uptick is expected to drive liability costs up at a rate higher than general inflation.
U.S.-based hospitals  are expected to face more than 44,000 claims arising from incidents occurring in 2009, according to the report, with anticipated costs exceeding $8.6 billion. Claims resulting from incidents in two key hospital risk areas, the obstetrics unit  and the emergency department , make up more than a quarter of that e