Annual cost of medical liability in US is $56bn, study estimates

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 07 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4905
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington

    The costs associated with medical liability—including legal costs and payouts associated with medical malpractice cases, malpractice insurance, and the practice of defensive medicine—total $55.6bn (£36.2bn; €43.6bn) a year or 2.4% of annual healthcare spending in the United States, concludes a study aimed at estimating the direct and indirect costs of protecting against medical negligence.

    The study analysed the various components of the medical liability system, including payments made by malpractice plaintiffs, the costs associated with defensive medicine, administrative costs, such as lawyers’ fees, and the costs of working time lost by clinicians associated with malpractice suits.

    The results showed that most of the cost, an estimated …

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