TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fairness of Malpractice Settlements

Philip G. Peters, Jr. (UMKC) has a new paper (in Regulation and on SSRN) relating to medical malpractice settlements.  Its abstract:

Over the past quarter of a century, more than a dozen studies have collected data on malpractice settlements. With only one exception, they have consistently shown that plaintiffs with strong cases are more likely to receive a settlement payment than plaintiffs with weak cases. Moreover, the data on malpractice settlement strongly suggests that liability insurers possess a palpable advantage in bargaining power.

And the concluding paragraph of the article itself (which is very short):

The overall performance of the settlement process should be reassuring to those physicians who are willing to listen. Quality of care drives settlement outcomes. To the extent that settlement outcomes depart from the merits, the discrepancies usually favor malpractice defendants. Although physicians may find it hard to believe, it will be hard to design an evenhanded adjudicative process that treats them much better.


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