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Recent Study Examines Which Physicians Are Most Prone to Malpractice Claims

Malpractice claims are quite prevalent these days, and there have been concerns for a long time about which physicians are most prone to malpractice claims. This has raised the important question of whether certain physicians are sued more than others and whether those physicians share certain characteristics. A recent study looked at 66,426 claims paid against 54,099 physicians from 2005 through 2014. The study determined the concentrations of claims among physicians, and it also identified characteristics of physicians at high risk for recurrent malpractice claims.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that around 1% of all physicians accounted for 32% of paid medical malpractice claims. This means that a small number of doctors account for almost one third of all paid claims. Comparing physicians who paid one malpractice claim to those who had paid two claims showed that those who paid two were almost twice as likely to pay another in the future. Physicians with three paid claims were three times more likely to pay another in the future. And those with six or more paid claims were 12 times more likely to pay another in the future.

Risks Vary by Characteristics of Physician

The study also found that there were variable risks of recurrent malpractice claims depending on the specialty. For example, the risk among neurosurgeons was four times greater than the risk among psychiatrists. Psychiatrists and pediatricians had the lowest risk of recurrence, while neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, general surgeons, plastic surgeons, and obstetrician-gynecologists had the highest risk of recurrence.

Gender, age, status, and training also had an effect on the risk of recurrence. Male physicians were 38% more likely to pay another claim than female physicians. In terms of age, physicians younger than 35 years old were less likely to have another claim than older physicians. In addition, residents were less likely to have another claim than nonresidents. M.D.s also had a lower risk than D.O.s. Finally, physicians who were trained in the United States had a lower risk than those who were trained elsewhere.

The study showed that the characteristics that had a significant effect on the risk of recurrence were the number of previous claims and the physician’s specialty. The study also demonstrated that a small number of physicians with certain characteristics accounted for a disproportionately large number of paid malpractice claims. This may mean that looking into your physician’s past claims, especially for surgeons, may be worth your time. However, anyone can make a mistake—and if they do, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.

Do You Want to Learn More About Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Medical malpractice claims allow people to pursue damages based on negligent medical care. The lawyers at Moll Law Group are committed to helping you seek the money that you deserve. If you believe that you may have been a victim of medical malpractice in Chicago or the surrounding area, the attorneys at Moll Law Group are available to help. We help people file claims who have suffered from a misdiagnosis, a surgical error, a birth injury, or any other form of medical malpractice. If you want to learn more about filing a medical malpractice claim, fill out our free consultation form or call us at 312-462-1700.

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Illinois Protects Police with Partial Immunity in Police Misconduct Cases, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 16, 2016.

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