Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 115-133

First online:

Losers and losers: Some demographics of medical malpractice tort reforms

  • Andrew I. FriedsonAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of Colorado Denver
  • , Thomas J. KniesnerAffiliated withCenter for Policy Research and Department of Economics, Syracuse UniversityDepartment of Economics, Claremont Graduate UniversityIZAMaxwell School of Syracuse University Email author 

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Our research examines how recent reforms have affected a key aspect of patients’ implicit insurance present in medical malpractice torts. Specifically, we estimate how non-economic damages caps affected pre-trial settlement speed and settlement amounts. Maximum entropy (most likely) quantile regressions emphasize that the post-reform settlement effects most informative for policy evaluation differ greatly from OLS (mean) estimates and clarify the conclusion emerging. In particular, the effect of the tort reform here can best be thought of as a 25% tax on the asset value of settlements that exempts settlements involving infants. The social welfare effects of tort reform are less clear than the asset reduction effects due to likely health state dependent utility.


Medical malpractice Tort reform Texas closed claims Damage caps Quantile regression Maximum entropy

JEL classification

C21 I18 K13