A Third of Medical Malpractice Cases Are Against the Same Few Doctors

Posted on February 10, 2016 at 11:58am by

Photo of surgeryNew research has found that as little as 1 percent of all doctors in the U.S. are connected to more than a third of all medical malpractice claims. Looking a little deeper into the reasons behind such a disproportionate number, you can see that the doctors linked to so many medical malpractice cases have a number of things in common.

For example, a staggering 82 percent of those doctors are male. Most of those are a bit older. Also, four practices stood out as most prone to litigation, including internal medicine, general surgery, general practice, and obstetrics and gynecology.

However, the most telling commonality between the physicians is that they’ve all been sued for medical malpractice before. An interesting find from David Studdert, professor of medicine and law at Stanford, shows that medical practitioners with three prior medical malpractice claims against them are three times more likely to be sued again. Those with four previous lawsuits are four times as likely, and so on.

The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reviewed over 66,000 medical malpractice suits filed against nearly 54,000 doctors across the country from 2005 to 2014. The authors of the study focused their attention on paid claims since they are a better indicator of poor medical care. About a third of medical malpractice claims are paid. Also, a third of the claims involved the wrongful death of a patient.

Basics of Medical Malpractice

In order to prove a medical malpractice case, you usually have to prove the following:

  • A doctor/patient relationship – You have to show that there was in fact a professional relationship between you and the doctor.
  • Negligence – You will have to also show that the doctor acted negligently, either intentionally or accidentally.
  • Real Injury – Then, you will have to show that you were in fact injured, providing proof from a third party doctor that the injury exists.
  • Negligence Caused Injury – Next, you have to show that the negligent action of the doctor directly caused your injury.

Donald G. Targan & Associates. P.C. works with victims of medical malpractice throughout New Jersey, including in Atlantic City, Cape May, and Wildwood Crest.


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