Emergency Department and Urgent Care Medical Malpractice Claims 2001–15

Kelly E. Wong, MD; P. Divya Parikh, MPH; Kwon C. Miller; Mark R. Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE


Western J Emerg Med. 2021;22(2):333-338. 

In This Article


In this retrospective review of closed adult MPL claims reported to the Data Sharing Project (DSP) of the MPL Association during a 15-year period (2001–2015), we reviewed 135,490 closed claims. The DSP is the largest independent database of MPL claims and lawsuits, comprised of aggregated and de-identified information from voluntarily participating member insurance companies. The MPL Association represents more than two-thirds of physicians in private practice.

We queried the DSP for MPL claims involving adult patients (older than 18 years) with claims arising from care received in a United States hospital-based ED or ambulatory urgent care center. Information obtained included the medical specialty involved, top resulting medical conditions, chief medical factor, and severity of resulting injury. We analyzed the outcomes of these claims (i.e., dropped, settled, judgment for plaintiff or defendant, etc.), as well as the amount of the award to the plaintiffs and the total defense fees. We summarized data using summary statistics. This study of de-identified data was not considered human subjects research by our institutional review board.