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Stability, Not Crisis: Medical Malpractice Claim Outcomes in Texas, 1988-2002

March 1, 2005
By Bernard Black, Charles Silver, David Hyman, and William Sage

Using a comprehensive database of closed claims maintained by the Texas Department of Insurance since 1988, this study provides evidence on a range of issues involving medical malpractice litigation, including claim frequency, payout frequency, payment

stethoscope and insurance docs

Using a comprehensive database of closed claims maintained by the Texas Department of Insurance since 1988, this study provides evidence on a range of issues involving medical malpractice litigation, including claim frequency, payout frequency, payment amounts, defense costs, and jury verdicts.  The data present a picture of stability in most respects and moderate change in others.  We do not find evidence in claim outcomes of the medical malpractice insurance crisis that produced headlines over the last several years and led to legal reform in Texas and other states.  At least in Texas, the rapid rise in insurance premiums that sparked the crisis may reflect, in significant part, insurance market dynamics rather than changes in claim outcomes.

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Health Care