Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Are Rarely Successful – New England Journal of Medicine Study

CBSNEWS ( – Medical malpractice affects 1 in 14 doctors each year, although only about 1 in 5 of those claims lead to an actual damage payout, according to a new study that has been fully evaluated by the New England Journal of Medicine.  The study included 41,000 doctors and found that almost every doctor will face a minimum of one medical malpractice claim and the stats are even higher for surgeons. 

The study showed that most medical malpractice lawsuits that are filed have no actual basis. Another study conducted in New York found that a small portion of patients who could have a potential malpractice case actually file the case or see it through.  Those patients who have been harmed by medical mistakes rarely file because of the fees that come along with a lawsuit. 

On the other hand, doctors, hospitals, along with their insurers have highly proficient financial and legal power.  Many states have a limit to how much an individual can actually receive from a malpractice case.  Researchers claim that it is doubtful that malpractice claims are filed in a greedy manner due to the fact that there is usually a lump sum due before the case even begins.

The study found that claims are filed against 7.5 percent of doctors each year, less than 2 percent of doctors actually had to pay out a settlement for a claim that was successful, and in the case that a pediatrician was found guilty of negligence, they had to pay out much higher for damages than other doctors.  Many individuals claim that there should be stricter guidelines for doctors, hospitals, and individuals who are actually filing a medical malpractice lawsuit


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