Can I Find Out if a Doctor Has Been Previously Sued for Medical Malpractice?


Before committing to any medical treatment, it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about the doctor who will be performing the procedure and anyone who might be assisting them. While most doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have strong records and reputations, those who do not have as much success typically do not advertise that fact openly. Therefore, you may need to do some digging to find out how trustworthy they are.

With a bit of work, it is possible to find out if a doctor in New York has previously been sued for medical malpractice. The process can often be complicated, and medical records without context do not always tell a complete story. A qualified malpractice attorney may be able to help you efficiently seek out the information you want to know and understand what it indicates about your prospective physician.

Finding a Doctor’s Medical History in New York

Generally, the easiest way to find out whether your doctor has undergone disciplinary action due to a complaint is to go through the state medical licensing board. In New York, the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) handles disciplinary proceedings for licensed practitioners in the state and keeps public records of all disciplinary actions it takes against medical professionals.

Importantly, though, public-facing OPMC records only track complaints the OPMC found credible and took disciplinary action over, not complaints that were filed but never acted upon. The OPMC also does not track medical malpractice claims filed in civil court against doctors.

Fortunately, the New York Department of Health operates a separate records system through which state residents can search for malpractice actions filed against any licensed practitioner in the state. Through this resource, you can also learn more about your doctor’s education and credentials, as well as the status of their medical license.

Court Records Do Not Necessarily Indicate Malpractice

In addition to the aforementioned state-run resources, patients who want to ensure their doctors have never been found liable for malpractice in the past can opt to search public court records for their doctor’s name. However, this can often be a complex procedure, as you may need to search multiple databases to get a complete picture of your doctor’s legal history.

Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that just because your doctor was sued in the past does not automatically mean they were found liable in the ensuing civil case. It is not uncommon for physicians to be accused of malpractice by a dissatisfied patient but later found not civilly liable for any wrongdoing in court.

Ultimately, anyone who suspects their doctor may have engaged in malpractice in the past, or who simply wants to confirm that they are a reputable medical professional, should seek help from a medical malpractice attorney before diving too deep into research on their own. State records and court data can be confusing and time-consuming to get through, and guidance from a legal professional is a much more effective and efficient way to find what you are looking for.