Ethel Zimmerman Wiener Professor of Public Policy, HKS; Henry and Allison McCance Professor of Business Administration, HBS
The US malpractice system is widely
regarded as inefficient, in part because of the time required to
resolve malpractice cases. Analyzing data from 40,916 physicians
covered by a nationwide insurer, we found that the average physician
spends 50.7 months-or almost 11 percent-of an assumed forty-year career
with an unresolved, open malpractice claim. Although damages are a
factor in how doctors perceive medical malpractice, even more
distressing for the doctor and the patient may be the amount of time
these claims take to be adjudicated. We conclude that this fact makes
it important to assess malpractice reforms by how well they are able to
reduce the time of malpractice litigation without undermining the needs
of the affected patient.
Seabury, Seth A., Amitabh Chandra, Darius N. Lakdawalla, and Anupam B. Jena. "On Average, Physicians Spend Nearly 11 Percent Of Their 40-Year Careers With An Open, Unresolved Malpractice Claim." Health Affairs 32.1 (January 2013): 111-119.