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dropped medical malpractice claims

Dropped medical malpractice claims refers to the phenomena that the most frequent outcome of a medical malpractice claim is that it will be "dropped" (i.e., abandoned) by the claimant, rather than either (1) settled or (2) adjudicated in a court of law.

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Medical malpractice claims are dropped for a number of reasons, including (in order of frequency from highest to lowest) (1) the case against the doctor turns out to be weaker than originally believed; (2) the claim involves multiple defendants, only some of whom are dropped from the claim; (3) changes in prevailing medical treatment standards (i.e., a doctor's method of treatment at the time of the claim was of state-of-the art quality, yet subsequent advances in medical technology made such treatment appear substandard); (4) changes in the plaintiff's condition (typically for the better); and (5) plaintiff's lack of candor with his/her attorney.

Although they result in no indemnity payments, dropped medical malpractice claims do involve significant costs. (A dropped claim involves a claim against a single individual or entity, whereas a dropped case involves a claim against multiple individuals or entities.)