An Analysis of Medical Malpractice Litigation Involving Mandibular Fractures

Martina Brozynski, Nargiz Seyidova, Olachi Oleru, Curtis Rew, Nikita Roy, Peter J. Taub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: With an increase in medical litigation, fractures of the mandible are not an uncommon source of legal action. The present study sought to conduct a comprehensive analysis of mandibular fracture malpractice cases. Specifically, the aim was to focus on the reasons a suit is brought, the outcomes, and the compensatory damages of litigation. The information is valuable to physicians as it may serve to minimize the risk of malpractice suits. Methods: The Westlaw and Lexis Nexis databases were searched for jury verdicts and settlements related to mandibular fracture malpractice lawsuits. Cases that did not meet the inclusion criteria, duplicate cases, and those for which enough information was not available were excluded. The data included reasons, outcomes, and monetary outcomes of litigations, as well as defendant specialty, location, year, and plaintiff demographics. Results: A total of 55 included cases spanned between 1970 and 2019. Of these, the most common reason a suit was brought included the defendant’s failure to make the diagnosis, which was noted in 27%. In 71% of the cases, the defendant was a surgeon; with 25% of these cases involving a plastic surgeon. Cases were resolved in favor of the defendant 51% of the time. Regarding outcome, 53% had a monetary outcome of $0. Conclusions: Although a slight majority of cases (51%) resulted in an outcome favoring the defendant, significant monetary consequences against the defendant were possible in cases when the plaintiff prevailed. Since failure to diagnose was the most common reason for a plaintiff to pursue litigation, physicians should thoroughly evaluate patients with suspected mandibular fractures to avoid litigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-396
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • litigation
  • malpractice in plastic surgery
  • mandibular fracture
  • mandibular malpractice
  • mandibular repair


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