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Physicians' Insurance Limits and Malpractice Payments: Evidence from Texas Closed Claims, 1990-2003

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Author Info

  • Kathryn Zeiler
  • Charles Silver
  • Bernard Black
  • David A. Hyman
  • William M. Sage

Abstract

Physicians' insuring practices influence their incentives to take care when treating patients, their risk of making out-of-pocket payments in malpractice cases, and the adequacy of compensation available to injured patients. Yet these practices and their effects have rarely been studied. Using Texas Department of Insurance data on 9,525 paid malpractice claims against physicians that closed in 1990-2003, we provide the first systematic evidence on levels of coverage purchased by physicians with paid liability claims and how those levels affect out-of-pocket payments and patient compensation. We find that these physicians carried much less insurance than is conventionally believed, that their real primary limits declined steadily over time, that policy limits often act as effective caps on recovery, and that personal contributions by physicians to close claims were rare. Our findings call into question a number of common assumptions about the relationship between physicians' insuring practices and the medical malpractice liability system. (c) 2007 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 36 (2007)
Issue (Month): S2 (06)
Pages: S9-S45

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:36:y:2007:i:s2:p:s9-s45

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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Cited by:
  1. Leonardo Felli & Johannes Koenen & Konrad O. Stahl, 2011. "Competition and Trust: Evidence from German Car Manufacturers," CESifo Working Paper Series 3358, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Daniel Carvell & Janet Currie & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2012. "Accidental death and the rule of joint and several liability," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(1), pages 51-77, 03.
  3. Zhou, Jun, 2010. "Determinants of Noneconomic Damages in Medical Malpractice Settlements and Litigations: Evidence from Texas since 1988," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 348, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.

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