For the average physician, malpractice claims go unresolved for more than four years, according to a new study. Pediatrics and obstetrics reported the longest time for unresolved malpractice claims.
For the average physician, malpractice claims go unresolved for more than four years, according to a new study.
The Health Affairs study of 40,916 physicians revealed that a physician with a 40-year career will spend roughly 11% of it with an unresolved and open malpractice claim. All the physicians in the survey were covered by a nationwide insurer.
Depending on the severity of the patient injury, the length of time between when the claim was filed and when it is ultimately resolved will increase.
Slightly more than half of emotional injury claims are resolved in six months to one year while the majority of those involving fatality or permanent disability took at least one year to resolve, Becker’s Hospital Review reported. However, 17% of fatality or permanent disability claims took at least three years.
Pediatrics and obstetrics reported the longest time for unresolved malpractice claims, while nephrology and oncology reported the shortest, Becker’s reported.
“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,” wrote authors Seth A. Seabury, Amitabh Chandra, Darius N. Lakdawalla and Anupam B. Jena. “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.”