The number of medical liability claims is not an indication of the frequency of medical error, AMA says, because the physician prevails 90% of the time in cases that go to trial. While 65% of claims are dropped or dismissed, they are not cost-free. Average defense costs per claim range from a low of over $22,000 among claims that are dropped or dismissed to a high of over $100,000 for cases that go to trial. This leads to increased costs for physicians and patients.
“The AMA supports proven medical liability reforms to lower health care costs and keep physicians caring for patients,” Rohack says. “The findings in this report validate the need for national and state medical liability reform to rein in our out-of-control system where lawsuits are a matter of when, not if, for physicians.”