Evaluation of Early Offer Reform of Medical Malpractice Claims: Final Report

06/05/2006

Many observers have concluded that the medical malpractice litigation system needs improvement. Medical malpractice cases are extremely complicated, requiring proof of injury, proof of the health care provider's fault, and determination of economic and noneconomic damages. Some claimants who are injured through medical error receive significant awards or settlements, but often after long delay. In addition, the current system entails transaction costs, so that substantial shares of the medical malpractice insurance premium dollars go for litigation expenses and insurer overhead. Although many states have enacted medical malpractice litigation system reforms, such as caps on the amount of noneconomic damages, other reforms may have a more fundamental effect on medical malpractice litigation than these reforms. This report analyzes one specific alternative proposal, referred to as early offers, by assessing its performance using a database of actual malpractice claims. [60 PDF pages]

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