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Publication Medical Malpractice Trials and Verdicts in Large Counties, 2001

Thomas H. Cohen, J.D., Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics

April 18, 2004    NCJ 203098

Presents findings on medical malpractice cases disposed of by jury and bench trial in general jurisdiction courts in the Nation's 75 largest counties during 2001. Information is provided on the types of injuries claimed by plaintiffs, plaintiff winners, and compensatory and punitive monetary damages awarded to plaintiff winners in medical malpractice trials. Trend data for medical malpractice jury trial litigation in 1992, 1996, and 2001 are also presented.


  • 90% of medical malpractice trials involved plaintiffs who claimed malpractice had caused death or permanent injury
  • About half of the sampled medical malpractice trials were brought against surgeons, while a third were against nonsurgeons.
  • The overall win rate for medical malpractice plaintiffs (27%) was about half of that found among plaintiffs in all tort trials (52%).

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