Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Dropped? The Upside & Downside…

Side Note: Let’s say you’re a physician being sued for medical malpractice, and your case was dropped. That’s great, isn’t it?! While that is absolutely fantastic news for you, it doesn’t mean that it is not without some negatives, too.

The article below discusses a recent study published in Health Affairs magazine that looked at 3,695 malpractice claims filed in Massachusetts between 2006 and 2010. The study found that the majority of cases are abandoned, at 59%. Of the remaining cases, 26% were settled and only 15% were adjudicated. The author of the study interviewed med mal lawyers to find out why such a high number of cases were abandoned. They most often said that more information about the case was learned that made it weaker than originally thought. Does this sound like a frivolous lawsuit to you?

What’s the downside, you may ask? Well, first a lot of resources were utilized (and therefore, wasted) to get those cases underway. And, not to mention, the upheaval and stress a physician liability lawsuit causes the individuals involved, along with time away from work, etc. And, of course, an overly used medical malpractice system can raise physician liability insurance rates, to name a few. (The article specifically mentions that, per dropped case, medical malpractice insurers spend about $25,000 on early defense costs.) Who says that there’s no such thing as a frivolous lawsuit?

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Dropped malpractice lawsuits cost legal system time and money
By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff
From: www.Boston.com
Posted: July 7, 2011

Happy Physician Because Med Mal Lawsuit DroppedMost medical malpractice lawsuits are not settled or decided in a trial. They are abandoned by the patients and family members who brought them.

A study published today in the journal Health Affairs looked at the outcomes of 3,695 malpractice claims filed in Massachusetts courts against hospitals, doctors, and other medical providers between 2006 and 2010. Fifty-nine percent of those claims were simply abandoned, found author Dwight Golann of the Suffolk University School of Law, far more than were settled (26 percent) and adjudicated (15 percent).

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