In 2022, 31.2 percent of U.S. physicians reported they have previously been sued, according to new analysis from the American Medical Association.
"Even the most highly qualified and competent physicians in the U.S. may face a medical liability claim in their careers, however, getting sued is not indicative of medical errors," AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., MD, said in a news release on the new analysis. "All medical care comes with risks, yet physicians are willing to perform high-risk procedures that offer hope of relief from debilitating symptoms or life-threatening conditions."
Older physicians are more likely to have been sued as they've had a higher exposure to risk, with 46.8 percent of physicians over the age of 54 reporting they have been sued. Meanwhile, only 9.5 percent of physicians under 40 reported being sued.
The biggest variation in claim frequency is amongst physician specialties, with obstetricians-gynecologists, general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons and other surgeons at the highest risk of facing a claim in their career.
Sixty-two percent of OB-GYNs and 59.3 percent of general surgeons have been sued in their career, with 43.9 percent of general surgeons and 47.2 percent of OB-GYNs facing a claim before the age of 55.
Female physicians face a lower liability risk than men, with 23.8 percent of women physicians being sued compared to 36.8 percent of men. Women also face an average of 42 claims per 100 physicians, compared with men facing 75 claims per 100 physicians.