DeVito and Jurs, ‘“Doubling-Down” for Defendants: The Pernicious Effects of Tort Reform’

Tort reform legislation developed as a response to a series of insurance crises and reactions that blamed the personal injury compensation system for those problems. Since measures of tort reform have been adopted, many researchers have analyzed their effects within and beyond the legal system, assessing how they affect damages, insurance claims, health costs, and physician supply. Our study analyzes an underdeveloped area of research: the effect of tort reform on the filing of cases in court. Using two databases of state court filing data over 12 years, we examine how a damages cap for medical negligence claims affects case filings in the years immediately after its adoption. With several test states, we find that when a state adopts med mal damages caps, there is a statistically significant drop of 23% in med mal filings. We confirm this effect by also measuring the effect of a cap’s nullification, and find that in the aftermath of a cap’s removal case filings increase by 29%. Our work can therefore confirm and quantify the effect of damages caps on case filing …

Scott DeVito and Andrew W Jurs, “Doubling-Down” for Defendants: The Pernicious Effects of Tort Reform, 118 Penn State Law Review 543 (2014).

First posted 2014-04-16 08:04:07

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