October 31, 2022

‘They’re Judge and They’re Jury’—How the Military’s Malpractice Claims Process Is Failing Troops and Families

Source: Task and Purpose

Journalist: Jeff Shogol

While the success rate for medical malpractice lawsuits in civilian courts is low, it is still higher than the number of cases settled by the military branches, said Katherine Kuzminski, director of the military, veterans, and society program at the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, D.C.

Kuzminski cited a 2009 academic journal article that looked at medical malpractice lawsuits, which found that physicians won between 80% and 90% of jury trials in which the evidence of negligence was weak as well as 70% of “borderline cases” and 50% of cases with strong evidence of negligence.

“Between 80% and 90% of the claims rated as defensible are dropped or dismissed without payment, according to the article in Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, which is published by the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons.

For military malpractice claims, it is clear that the military branches need to increase the size of their legal staff to make sure cases are processed more efficiently, Kuzminski told Task & Purpose.

“However, that does not mean that the number of approved cases or damages paid will increase — only that the cases will be handled more expediently,” Kuzminski said.

Read the full story and more from Task and Purpose.


  • Katherine L. Kuzminski

    Deputy Director of Studies, Director, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

    Katherine L. Kuzminski (formerly Kidder) is the Deputy Director of Studies, and the Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society (MVS) Program at CNAS. Her research special...