How David beat Goliath: history of physicians fighting frivolous lawsuits.
Dippolito, Anthony; Braslow, Benjamin M.; Lombardo, Gary; Hoddinott, Kevin M.; Nace, Gary and Stawicki, S. Peter (2008) How David beat Goliath: history of physicians fighting frivolous lawsuits. OPUS 12 Scientist, 2 (1). pp. 1-8. ISSN 1940-8633
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Legal and medical professions are intertwined in an intimate and complex relationship. Medical malpractice arguably constitutes the biggest point of contention between the two professions. While a significant proportion of medical malpractice complaints are not frivolous and are based on appropriate research and screening criteria, most of these complaints are ultimately settled or taken to trial, with a fairly good chance that the outcome will be favorable or at least satisfactory to the involved physician. At times, the legal system fails to ‘filter out’ frivolous cases. Such cases can and, at times, do end up in court. Although majority of them are ultimately decided in favor of the defending physician, the emotional anguish and the potential damage to the physician’s reputation can be significant. In addition, the spiraling costs of malpractice insurance and the fear of further malpractice insurance rate increases following a legal complaint cause many doctors to engage in costly and sometimes dangerous practice of defensive medicine. Due to the overall magnitude of the malpractice lawsuit misuse and the devastating consequences of such misuse, frustrated physicians have resorted to initiating countersuits in response to abusive and frivolous lawsuits. This review presents cases where physicians who were unfairly sued filed successful countersuits against the plaintiff’s attorneys. A review of relevant medical and legal literature is also included.
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