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Study finds plaintiffs lose more cases against physicians

We all hear of medical malpractice lawsuits in the news, but have you ever wondered how many of these cases actually favor the plaintiff? A recent study conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital found that 79.6 percent of medical malpractice cases that go to a jury verdict favor the physician and not the plaintiff. And, only 4.5 percent of claims filed ever make it to a jury.

The study took a look at 10,000 closed malpractice claims cases from around the United States. Researchers found that 54.1 percent of cases that went to court were either dismissed or settled. But medical malpractice cases don't close quickly and the average time for a case to close was 19 months, or more than 25 months for those that were litigated in court. It took more than 11 months for cases settled without the court system and even longer for cases that made it to a verdict.

While the study shows that physicians won more cases overall, it took months or years to be settled. The researchers also broke the data down according to the specialty that was involved in the lawsuits and the most common were:

  • Internal medicine
  • Anesthesiology
  • General surgery
  • Diagnostic radiology
  • Ob/gyn
  • Pediatrics
  • Pathology

This study should not deter you if you think you might have a case for medical malpractice. If you have experienced negligence from a health care professional, you should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. They can determine if you have a solid case and will work with you to get the compensation that you deserve.

Source: MedPage Today, "Docs Win Most Malpractice Cases at Trial," John Gever, May 15, 2012

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