Statistics Show Patterns in Doctors Most Frequently Targeted by Lawsuits

A recent survey by the American Medical Association (AMA) indicates that for every 100 doctors in the United States, there are 95 malpractice suits are filed. The defining factors in which doctors are sued seem to relate to gender, age, and specialty.
A Look at the Statistics
Roughly 5,000 doctors were polled by the AMA. Out of those, approximately 42 percent claimed they were sued once and 20 percent claimed they were sued two or more times.

  • Gender. The survey revealed that patients sued male doctors more often than female doctors: 47.5 percent of responding males were sued (26.3 percent sued twice) as opposed to half as many female doctors – 23.9 percent (9.4 percent sued twice).
  • Age. In many cases, age brings experience and wisdom. However, for the medical profession it apparently brings more litigation. Out of those polled, the AMA determined that only 15.3 percent of doctors under age 40 were sued, but this number tripled (45.3 percent) for doctors between ages 40 and 54, and was even larger (60.5 percent) for doctors over the age of 55.
  • Specialty. A physician’s specialty also affects whether he or she will become a defendant in a medical malpractice suit. Doctors working in single-specialty practices were more likely to become defendants in malpractice suits than doctors working in hospitals and multi-specialty practices.

What Do The Statistics Really Mean?

The AMA contends that the figures are not an indication of substandard medical care. Nearly 65 percent of malpractice cases are dropped or dismissed, and physicians prevail in 90 percent of cases tried in a courtroom. Cases of medical malpractice against doctors are often hard to prove. If you think you may have a claim involving medical malpractice against your doctor or hospital, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney for an evaluation of your case.


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