Top 4 Specialties with the Most Malpractice Suits

Malpractice Suits

Sometimes medical providers make serious mistakes that result in injury to their patients. Sadly, these errors happen more often than you may think, causing thousands of unnecessary injuries and deaths each year. A few years ago, a John Hopkins University School of Medicine study revealed the shocking truth: at least 250,000 Americans die every year because of some kind of medical error, making medical errors the third-leading cause of death in the United States. When these mistakes are determined to be caused by negligent behavior, medical malpractice suits may be an appropriate way to recover damages.

Despite the enormous number of injuries and deaths caused by malpractice, only 20,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed each year in the U.S. Perhaps because they don’t know their legal rights, only 1-in-50 medical malpractice victims will pursue a claim.

If you lost a loved one or were badly injured as a result of negligent medical care, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your legal options. Medical malpractice attorneys devote their careers to seeking justice for people injured through no fault of their own, typically taking cases on a contingency-fee basis so their clients only pay if a settlement is reached.

Top 4 Specialties with the Most Malpractice Suits

Technically, negligent care can occur in any type of medical practice but there does seem to be some types of practitioners more likely to get hit with malpractice lawsuits.

As shared by the Beckers Hospital Review, data from the 2021 Medscape Malpractice Report identified the top four physician specialties sued for medical malpractice in 2021. They found at least 83% of plastic surgeons and general surgeons, 81% of orthopedists, and 80% of urologists reported having at least one malpractice claim filed against them over the course of their career.

The 2015 Medscape survey offers some additional insights with the following types of physicians reporting having at least one malpractice claim filed against them during their career:

  • 85% of obstetricians/gynecologists
  • 83% of surgeons
  • 79% of orthopedists
  • 72% of radiologists
  • 58% of anesthesiologists
  • 46% of internal/family medicine practitioners
  • 34% of oncologists

Most common causes of malpractice cases

Of the lawsuits faced by surveyed physicians in the 2021 Medscape survey, failure to diagnose* was the cause of 31 percent of lawsuits while complications from treatment were responsible for 29 percent.

*Failure to diagnose is common in medical situations involving various types of cancer, infections, heart attacks with atypical symptoms, and coronary artery disease.

Other common causes for medical malpractice lawsuits include:

  • Medication errors
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Poor outcomes/disease progression
  • Unnecessary surgery and surgical errors
  • Failure to treat or delayed treatment
  • Wrongful death

More data about medical malpractice cases:

  • The 2015 Medscape survey found that doctors have an increased chance of being sued for malpractice as they age. The study showed that 64% of the physicians had been sued at least once by age 54 but that number jumped to almost 80% after age 60.
  • A surprisingly low 1.8% of doctors account for more than 50% of all payments made for medical malpractice claims.
  • Approximately 41% of Americans claim they have been the victim of medical malpractice.
  • About 50% of all malpractice lawsuits involve two or more medical practitioners.
  • Specialists are sure more often than primary care physicians (62% vs. 52%).

The Seattle Personal Injury Lawyers You Want on Your Side

The personal injury attorneys at Tinker Law Firm have been winning birth injury, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases for individuals and their loved ones in Seattle and across Washington State since 1974. We seek justice for injury victims who have been harmed by preventable medical errors, and the negligent or abusive actions of another. Our clients pay no fees or expenses to file a personal injury claim; our firm advances out-of-pocket expenses and is only reimbursed when we recover a settlement on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims in Washington State have a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time from the date of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled and experienced injury attorneys.