OBJECTIVES To determine the consequences of a judicial claim on the private life and professional practice of affected doctors. MATERIAL AND METHODS A cross-sectional, descriptive study was performed on the basis of 169 surveys filled out by physicians subjected to a lawsuit in Spain in the period including 2002-2005. RESULTS The claim produced a bad or very bad personal experience in 98.8%. A total of 85.1% admitted repercussions on family life, 84% made some change in the way they worked, and 57.4% admitted effects on their vocation. There was an unfavorable court ruling in 6%. CONCLUSIONS There were important repercussions on doctors after a lawsuit, both on their private and family life, as well as the way they approach medical practice.