Medical malpractice lawsuits can take place in any area of medical practice, but some sectors have a higher incidence of these legal actions than others. Those who would like to hold a medical practitioner or business accountable for an injury or wrongful death often wonder about how typical their type of suit is in California. Between May and August 2021, the Medscape Malpractice Report surveyed over 4,000 physicians in the United States across 29 specialties to identify how common malpractice suits were in each specialty.
According to the survey, plastic surgeons had the highest percentage of practitioners with a history of a lawsuit, with 83% of respondents in this specialty saying they had faced legal action. Other top-ranking areas were:
- Orthopedics, with 80% of physicians surveyed saying they have been named in a medical malpractice lawsuit
- Urology (80%)
- OB/GYN (79%)
- Emergency medicine (70%)
In addition to the above, over half of physicians specializing in otolaryngology, radiology and cardiology had been named in a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are many interesting takeaways from this report for California individuals deciding whether to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. For example, one-third of respondents say they settled their lawsuits before the trial, and 54% report being very surprised by the lawsuit. For anyone considering a medical malpractice lawsuit, it can help to understand the precedents that exist for one’s particular claim, the evidence requirements and the possible legal arguments.