IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Layperson and physician perceptions of the malpractice system: implications for patient safety

Listed author(s):
  • Liang, Bryan A.
Registered author(s):

    The malpractice tort system functions upon the assumption that the medical profession defines its own standard of care. Hence, clinical assessments should theoretically mirror legal ones. However, if there is a conflict between the two, this conflict may reflect a perceived bias of the system either for or against a party. This exploratory study attempts to determine whether such a bias could exist. Physicians and layperson jury pool members were asked to review 10 jury verdict case scenarios. Respondents were asked first to assess whether the defendant physician provided clinically appropriate care; they were then asked to predict what the jury in the case actually decided. Laypersons showed significantly better agreement with actual jury verdicts on clinical assessment and success in jury verdict prediction than physicians. Both physicians and laypersons switched the favored party from clinical assessment to verdict prediction, with a vast majority of these changes being made from defendant to plaintiff. These results were consistent overall and when parsing assessments by case verdicts. Thus, laypersons and physicians may perceive a similar bias toward plaintiffs in the malpractice system. If these results can be generalized, the malpractice system may be inducing behavior that has a negative impact on patient safety.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 57 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 1 (July)
    Pages: 147-153

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:57:y:2003:i:1:p:147-153
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:57:y:2003:i:1:p:147-153. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.