To find out if there are malpractice lawsuits against a doctor, a person can access his state's court records, explains Nolo. Many records are online; others may require going to the courthouse and paying a fee. The existence of a lawsuit against a doctor doesn't mean that he committed malpractice.
A judge may throw out a frivolous lawsuit, but the court must maintain a record of it, reports Nolo. In other cases, a patient may file a lawsuit but fail to prove malpractice. Other ways to determine if there are any formal complaints or disciplinary actions against a doctor are to contact the state medical board; to access the data of an organization that evaluates doctors, such as the National Committee for Quality Assurance; and to look up a doctor on an insurance company's website.
A state's medical board gives doctors licenses to practice within its boundaries, states Nolo. The board may suspend or revoke a doctor's license if it finds that the doctor was guilty of malpractice or an official complaint. State licensing boards often publish their disciplinary actions against physicians on websites that are free to access, or an individual may contact his state's board directly. The Federation of State Medical Boards offers a database of disciplinary actions in all 50 states, which is available for a fee.