Study: Juries favor doctors in med mal cases

A new research study had concluded that physicians tend to do better than patients when medical malpractice cases go court. The study, which was done by University of Missouri-Columbia law professor Philip Peters, examined 17 years of malpractice cases. He found that while juries may still side with plaintiffs when a doctor is clearly negligent, if evidence is unclear juries tend to give doctors the "benefit of the doubt." Part of the reason is that doctors tend to be able to mount stronger cases. Juries are particularly swayed by the use of costly expert reviewers; Juries vote with the physician in 80 to 90 percent of cases when an expert testifies. Also, doctors win 50 percent of cases that independent legal observers had expected the patient or family to win.

To get more background on the study:
- read this Chicago Tribune item
- see the research abstract