(HealthDay News) — Nearly one-third of US physicians (31.2%) in 2022 reported they had previously been sued, according to new research released by the American Medical Association.

The Benchmark Survey includes a nationally representative sample of 3500 physicians who provide at least 20 hours of patient care per week, have completed their residency, are not employed by the federal government, and practice in one of the 50 US states or the District of Columbia.

The survey showed nearly half (46.8%) of physicians aged 54 years or older had been sued, versus 9.5% of physicians younger than 40 years. The widest variation in claim frequency was attributed to medical specialty, with surgical specialties at highest risk and internal medicine subspecialties at lowest risk (eg, 62% of ob-gyns and 59.3% of general surgeons versus 7% of allergists/immunologists and 8% of hematologists/oncologists). Furthermore, women physicians face lower liability risk than men (23.8% of women vs 36.8% of men).

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“Even the most highly qualified and competent physicians in the US may face a medical liability claim in their careers; however, getting sued is not indicative of medical errors,” Jack Resneck Jr, MD, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement. “When physicians are sued, two-thirds of civil liability claims are dropped, dismissed, or withdrawn without a finding of fault.”

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