Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1744225
 
 

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Does Sorry Work? The Impact of Apology Laws on Medical Malpractice


Benjamin Ho


Cornell University - Johnson School of Management

Elaine Liu


University of Houston

December 1, 2010

Johnson School Research Paper Series No. 04-2011

Abstract:     
Apologies made by physicians for adverse medical events have been identified as a mitigating factor in whether patients decide to litigate. However, doctors are socialized to avoid apologies because apologies admit guilt and invite lawsuits. An apology law, which specifies that a physician’s apology is inadmissible in court, is written to encourage patient-physician communication. Building on a simple model, we examine whether apology laws at the State level have an impact on malpractice lawsuits and settlements. Using a difference-in-differences estimation, we find that State-level apology laws could expedite the settlement process. Using individual level data, we also find that apology laws have the greatest reduction in average payment size and settlement time in cases involving more severe patient outcomes.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 55

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Date posted: January 21, 2011 ; Last revised: February 21, 2011

Suggested Citation

Ho, Benjamin and Liu, Elaine, Does Sorry Work? The Impact of Apology Laws on Medical Malpractice (December 1, 2010). Johnson School Research Paper Series No. 04-2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1744225 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1744225

Contact Information

Benjamin Ho (Contact Author)
Cornell University - Johnson School of Management ( email )
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
HOME PAGE: http://forum.johnson.cornell.edu/faculty/ho/
Elaine Liu
University of Houston ( email )
Houston, TX 77204
United States
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