How To Make Money Out of Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice can increase physician salary in USA! Sounds paradoxical ? Not when you realize that in a medical malpractice case, physicians are usually called upon to testify as expert witnesses or as case consultants.

I have been taking a class on Health Law, which opened out a whole new fascinating world to me. Indeed, there exist firms that "hire out" physicians to defend a case. It does not have to be medical malpractice all the time, criminal cases too might need a doc's opinion.

Since this blog is also about exploring channels that physicians in USA make money through, I felt it was relevant to explore this and put this up.

As an expert consultant or witness for a trial, physicians normally get paid for their time and not the actual testimony, which implies two things :
1. You get paid for the time whatever the outcome of the case may be, and that
2. You don't get paid only for the actual testimony but also for all the time you spend surveying and studying, making a report and for any travel involved.

A senior Infectious Disease physician at a VA hospital, whom I had a chance to attend rounds with, told me he made about 700$ an hour when he was called to testify. Reputation and Seniority does play a role in the number of such jobs you get, as much as the prevailing general rates. If you get paid too much, the hiring plaintiff or defendant runs the risk of being accused of "buying" you to sway your decision.

The range [ or at least lets say the 95% confidence intervals would be ;-)] is supposed to be 200 to 800$ an hour, as per this professional physician expert provider firm called (love that name, don't you ;-)). Some physicians go ahead and setup a professional service to serve as expert witnesses and charge flat fees plus hourly or fees by day. As a sample, check out how a podiatrist Charles Fenton charges.

So, while you may not get too rich solely playing the expert witness physician, it could be a sizable and "enjoyable" retirement and relax-time income.

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