Standard of care and liability in medical malpractice litigation in Japan

Akihito Hagihara, Minako Nishi, Koichi Nobutomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Although the incidence of medical malpractice litigation is increasing in Japan, it remains unclear whether medical malpractice litigation gives doctors and hospitals, an economic incentive to provide high-quality medical care by requiring that they compensate patients for harm caused by negligence. Therefore, to evaluate whether the medical malpractice litigation system contributes to the delivery of high-quality medical care, we first analyzed the decisions made in medical malpractice cases between 1986 and 1998 in ten district courts (n=421). We found the following results: (1) the probability that patients received compensation and the amount of compensation received, increased with the level of negligence, for all injury severity levels; (2) the significant predictors that a case would be decided in favor of the patient were the patient's legal basis (P=0.00) and the severity of injury (P=0.02). Although, it seems that Japanese medical malpractice litigation gives doctors an economic incentive to avoid delivering substandard medical care, since both the severity of injury and negligence were significant predictors, medical litigation in Japan might in fact corrupt the compensation process by creating an adversarial atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy


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