Commentary: Binding Early Offers Versus Caps for Medical Malpractice Claims

Like damages caps, early offer reform promises reduction in the costs of medical liability cases. In contrast to damages caps, early offer reform offers advantages to both claimant and defendant. Under early offer, the defendant would have the option to offer an injured patient periodic payments for the patient’s net economic losses as they accrue, but not payments for noneconomic losses (pain and suffering). If an early offer were made and accepted, that would settle the claim. This commentary explains how an early offer reform might work and summarizes data from a recent closed claim study of medical malpractice cases in Texas and Florida. The data show widespread opportunities for successful early offers and provide evidence that substantial per case savings would result.

Author(s): Jeffrey O’Connell

Keywords: medical malpractice; liability; tort reform

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Volume 85, Issue 2 (pages 287–296)
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0009.2007.00487.x
Published in 2007