Study: Payouts Rare In Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

I’ve argued before that malpractice costs represent a very small portion of health care spending, and now a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that while “1 in 14 doctors gets sued each year, with virtually every surgeon likely to face at least one malpractice lawsuit in their careers,” only 20 percent of malpractice claims “result in a payout to claimants.” As the study’s author explained to the Associated Press, “given the costs that plaintiffs lawyers often must front in order to bring malpractice suits, along with the limited recoveries they face in some states that have passed tort reform legislation, a lawyer would have to be an idiot to take a frivolous case to court.”