Medical malpractice among physicians: who will be sued and who will pay?

Health Care Manag Sci. 2000 Sep;3(4):269-77. doi: 10.1023/a:1019014028914.


This paper examines whether a physician's future claims of medical malpractice are predictable from information on the physician's recent claims history, training credentials, practice characteristics, and demographics. Data on the medical malpractice experience of 8,733 Michigan physicians between 1980 and 1989 is analyzed. We find strong evidence of repetition over time regarding who was sued and who paid claims. The worse a physician's malpractice litigation record during 1980-1984, the worse was his record during 1985-1989. Training credentials were also highly predictive of future malpractice experience. Physicians trained at lower ranked medical schools or who went through lower-ranked residency programs faced higher odds of developing adverse malpractice records, even after controlling for their previous litigation record. Growing internet access to information on these characteristics will help inform prospective patients if they wish to avoid physicians likely to be sued and likely to make payments in the future for malpractice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Liability / statistics & numerical data*
  • Internship and Residency / standards
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Malpractice / economics*
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Malpractice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Michigan
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Schools, Medical / standards