Dealing With a Malpractice Lawsuit? Here’s What to Know

Nearly one-third (31 percent) of radiologists face at least one malpractice claim in their careers. What should you expect during a malpractice lawsuit? Let’s check out some expert advice.

Preventing malpractice lawsuits

You can reduce the risk of a lawsuit by taking certain precautions, experts write in Radiology Research and Practice:

  • Always have adequate malpractice insurance coverage.
  • Follow standards of care as strictly as possible.
  • Take care that any use of off-label devices is considered safe and effective therapy.
  • Improve communication skills with patients and other providers. Use simpler language, ensure informed consent, convey results clearly and sensitively, and admit any medical errors.

Dealing with a lawsuit

Still, any radiologist could face a malpractice suit at some point. A March 2022 article in Journal of the American College of Radiology provides a look into the process.

  • Contact the malpractice insurer and legal council for guidance. Do not alter patient records or discuss the suit with potential witnesses.
  • Expect a fact-finding, “discovery” stage.
  • Each side will call witnesses and experts.
  • Radiologists and their attorneys can request a summary judgment to dismiss the suit.
  • A deposition may follow, when plaintiff attorneys can speak with the defendant physician.
  • If the case is not dismissed and a settlement fails, it will go to a jury trial.
  • Any payouts the radiologist makes will go into the National Practitioner Data Bank. Search this database for information relevant to the current suit.

The good news is, most claims do not go to trial, or end in favor of the defendant. Follow good communication practices, and seek advice from your insurance provider and legal council for the best outcome.

Clear, effective communication is vital for any health care practice, and may help avoid legal difficulties. Our Nova RIS solution enhances communication among referring physicians, image centers, and patients to improve clarity and strengthen patient care. To learn how, feel free to reach out to our workflow specialists today!