Understanding Malpractice Claims and Legal Proceedings

Program Description

This introductory-level course presents an overview of the four essential elements necessary for the filing of a malpractice claim. The program reviews common allegations, and the situations necessary to file a claim. The steps in the legal process are defined, legal terms explained, and the course examines tort reform, and its relationship to the litigation of civil law suits. The program also discusses the process of arbitration.


After completing this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Define the four essential elements of a malpractice claim.
  • Outline the steps in the claims management and legal process for a malpractice case.
  • List situations that should be promptly reported to the malpractice carrier.
  • Describe the steps taken when an incident occurs or when a claim is filed.
  • Explain how tort reform influences civil law suits.
  • Identify the process for arbitration.


No individual in a position to control or influence the content of this activity has reported relevant financial relationships with commercial interests. No commercial support was provided for this activity. 


Michelle Swift, BSN, JD, RN, Patient Safety Risk Manager II, The Doctors Company

Rich Cahill, JD, Vice President, Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company

Continuing Education Credit

The Doctors Company is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education activities for physicians.

The Doctors Company designates this enduring material activity for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The Doctors Company estimates one hour for completion of this course. A passing score of 80 percent or greater is required to successfully complete the activity and earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Course ID#: TDE 16020.0
Issue Date for This Activity: 09/23/2016
Expiration Date for This Activity: 09/23/2019


The information and guidelines contained in this enduring material activity are generalized and may not apply to all practice situations. The faculty recommends that legal advice be obtained from a qualified attorney for specific application to your practice. The information is intended for educational purposes only.

Complies with State Requirements

Please SEE the Federation of State Medical Boards overview of Continuing Medical Education requirements by State. 

Technical Requirements

This activity is best experienced using the most current browser (or one back) of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, or Microsoft Edge.  For all activities featuring audio you must have a sound card and speakers. To view graphic images and references that appear in separate "pop-up" windows, you must have JavaScript and session cookies enabled on your computer.  Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required for certain activities.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact educationsupport@thedoctors.com or call (800) 421-2368, extension 1243.