How Do the Elderly Fare in Medical Malpractice Litigation, Before and After Tort Reform? Evidence from Texas
American Law and Economics Review, Forthcoming 2012
31 Pages Posted: 16 May 2010 Last revised: 13 May 2012
Date Written: May 12, 2012
The elderly account for a disproportionate share of medical spending, but little is known about how they are treated by the medical malpractice system, or how tort reform affects elderly claimants. We compare paid medical malpractice claims brought by elderly plaintiffs in Texas during 1988-2009 to those brought by adult non-elderly plaintiffs. Controlling for healthcare utilization, elderly paid claims rose from 20% to 66% of the adult non-elderly rate, and mean and median payments per claim converged, although the elderly were far less likely to receive large payments. Tort reform strongly affected claim rates and payouts for both groups, but disproportionately reduced payouts to elderly claimants. We thus find evidence of convergence between the elderly and the adult non-elderly in both claim rates and payouts, which is interrupted by tort reform.
Keywords: Elderly, Malpractice, Claiming, Tort Reform
JEL Classification: K23, K32, I11, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation