On Average, Physicians Spend Nearly 11 Percent of Their 40-Year Careers with an Open, Unresolved Malpractice Claim
Published in: Health Affairs, v. 32, no. 1, Jan. 2013, p. 111-119
Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013
- How quickly are medical malpractice claims resolved?
The US malpractice system is widely regarded as inefficient, in part because of the time required to resolve malpractice cases. Analyzing data from 40,916 physicians covered by a nationwide insurer, we found that the average physician spends 50.7 months—or almost 11 percent—of an assumed forty-year career with an unresolved, open malpractice claim. Although damages are a factor in how doctors perceive medical malpractice, even more distressing for the doctor and the patient may be the amount of time these claims take to be adjudicated. We conclude that this fact makes it important to assess malpractice reforms by how well they are able to reduce the time of malpractice litigation without undermining the needs of the affected patient.
- The average physician spends nearly 11 percent of an assumed forty-year career with an unresolved, open malpractice claim.
- The long time it takes for a case to be resolved is distressing for both doctor and patient.
- Malpractice reforms also need to focus on the time required to resolve claims.