The American Medical Association released a report surveying over 5,000 doctors between 2007 and 2008. The result: An average of 95 claims were filed for every 100 physicians. That’s an average of almost one per physicians. Just under 50 percent were sued at some point in their career. 20% were sued two or more times.
And the doctor’s specialty determined the career suit rate:
General and family practice: 80 claims / 100 physicians
General internal medicine: 58 claims / 100 physicians
Internal medicine subspecialties: 86 claims / 100 physicians
General surgery: 213 claims / 100 physicians
Surgical subspecialties: 170 claims / 100 physicians
Ob/Gyn: 215 claims / 100 physicians
Radiology: 116 claims / 100 physicians
ER Medicine: 109 claims / 100 physicians
The longer you practice, the more likely you will have been sued over your career.
Those aged 55 or older: 60.5% of doctors have been sued
Those aged 40-54: 45.3% of doctors have been sued
Practice long enough and you will receive a summons. Data from the Physician Insurers Association of America (PIAA, 2009) suggest the following about those characteristics of the medical liability market in 2008: In under 30% of the cases, money was paid to plaintiff. Put a different way, no money was paid out over 70% of the time. Many are being sued, but the system fails in efficiently identifying those patients who deserve a timely settlement.