How to Check Your Doctor’s Medical Malpractice History in Georgia
Many patients are curious to know whether their doctor has been sued for medical malpractice. Luckily, there are ways to check if your doctor has been sued before. However, doing so can be complicated.
The most common reason why people want to know whether their physician has been sued for medical errors is that they want to be absolutely certain that the doctor will be competent to treat them.
Many people believe that prior lawsuits against a medical professional are a sign that a doctor is either incompetent, inexperienced, or careless.
Not All Medical Malpractice Claims Become Lawsuits
However, checking whether a doctor has been sued for medical malpractice is not always possible. In most cases, doing so is difficult due to Georgia’s state laws.
Also, it is vital to understand that not all medical malpractice claims against doctors go to court and become lawsuits. Many medical malpractice claims are settled out of court. For this reason, finding out whether your doctor has been sued before may not be the best way to check their background and assess their competence.
Under Georgia law, all insurance carriers must report medical malpractice awards to the Georgia Composite Medical Board. Under O.C.G.A. § 33-3-27, insurers must report all settlements and judgments issued by courts. The insurer is required to send the report to the Board within 30 days after the victim has received the agreed-upon amount or the parties reach a settlement agreement.
Checking if Your Doctor Has Been Sued Before in Georgia
You can check whether your doctor has been sued for medical malpractice by looking at their physician profile created by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. If you want to find out about your doctor’s prior med-mal lawsuits, you should go to the Board’s website and then click on “Look Up a Licensee.”
When the new page opens, you should enter your doctor’s name and view their physician profile, which will contain information about prior medical malpractice lawsuits and settlements:
- Judgments or arbitration awards issued within the last 10 years when the awarded amount exceeds $100,000;
- Settlements above $300,000 in the last decade;
- At least three settlement in the last 10 years if any of them exceeds $100,000; and
- All settlements, regardless of the awarded amount, if there have been at least four settlements in the last 10 years.
Unfortunately, you cannot really check how many times your doctor has been sued for medical malpractice for three reasons:
- Not all lawsuits and settlements meet the above-mentioned criteria;
- The information about medical malpractice is limited to the last 10 years; and
- The physician page does not contain information about lawsuits that were dismissed or where the medical professional won.
Also, it would make sense to search federal court records to check whether your doctor has been sued for medical malpractice in federal court. This can be done by checking the federal court records on Public Access to Court Electronic Records, also known as PACER. You can also try searching the online court dockets in the county where the physician practices.
Speak with our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys if you believe that your doctor has made a medical error while treating you. Contact Carroll Law Firm to receive a consultation and discuss your situation. Call at 404-816-4555.