How do the elderly fare in medical malpractice litigation, before and after tort reform? Evidence from Texas

Myungho Paik, Bernard Black*, David A. Hyman, William M. Sage, Charles M. Silver

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    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 reformaffects 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 (based on inpatient days), elderly paid claims rose from about 20% to about 40% of the adult non-elderly rate by the early 2000s. Mean and median payouts per claim also converged, although the elderly were far less likely to receive large payouts. 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.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)561-600
    Number of pages40
    JournalAmerican Law and Economics Review
    Volume14
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Finance
    • Law

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