The Receding Tide of Medical Malpractice Litigation: Part 1—National Trends

27 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2013

See all articles by Myungho Paik

Myungho Paik

Hanyang University - College of Policy Science

Bernard S. Black

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law; Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

David A. Hyman

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: December 2013

Abstract

The United States has experienced three medical malpractice (med mal) crises in the past 40 years. In response, 31 states now have caps on noneconomic or total damages. Researchers have studied the impact of these caps, relative to control states without caps, but have not studied trends in no‐cap states or overall national trends. We find that the per‐physician rate of paid med mal claims has been dropping for 20 years and in 2012 was less than half the 1992 level. Lawsuit rates, in the states with available data, are also declining, at similar rates. “Small” paid claims (payout < $50,000 in 2011 dollars) have been dropping for the full period; “large” paid claims (payout ≥ $50,000) have been dropping since 2001. Payout per large paid claim was roughly flat. Payouts per physician have been dropping since 2003, and by 2012 were 48 percent below their 1992 level. The “third wave” of damage cap adoptions over 2003–2006 contributed to this trend, but there are also large declines in no‐cap states.

Suggested Citation

Paik, Myungho and Black, Bernard S. and Hyman, David A., The Receding Tide of Medical Malpractice Litigation: Part 1—National Trends (December 2013). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 10, Issue 4, pp. 612-638, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2344501 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12021

Myungho Paik (Contact Author)

Hanyang University - College of Policy Science ( email )

222 Wangsimni-ro Seongdong-gu
Seoul, 04763
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Bernard S. Black

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-2784 (Phone)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-5049 (Phone)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Brussels
Belgium

David A. Hyman

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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