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Common Reasons Doctors are Sued

In a recent survey of 4000 doctors published in Medscape's Medical Malpractice Report 2015, those doctors who had been sued for medical malpractice were asked to identify the reason they were sued. The top seven reasons were:

Failure to diagnose: 31%

Patient suffered abnormal injury: 31%

Failure to treat: 12%

Poor documentation: 4%

Medication mistake: 4%

Failure to follow safety procedures: 3%

Failure to obtain informed consent: 3%

Although these survey results allow us to see how doctors understand why they were sued, the reasons doctors may be sued for malpractice are a little more involved than the list suggests. For example, the fact that a patient has suffered an abnormal injury, by itself, does not mean that the doctor committed malpractice. A valid medical malpractice claim must be based on a doctor's failure to comply with the accepted standard of care that causes injury to the patient. In addition, although not a legal requirement, the injury must be of sufficient magnitude to justify the substantial cost and risk of pursuing a case.


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