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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

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Publication Date

Winter 2010




DePaul University College of Law




Tort reform has been a hot topic among those interested in assessing whether and how well the tort system aids injured plaintiffs in achieving civil justice. The debate has been especially heated when it comes to medical malpractice liability. Until recently, rhetoric about the liability system and its relationship to insurance markets and physician supply dominated tort reform debates. While claims made by both proponents and opponents can seem intuitive, they are often unsubstantiated. In recent years, however, academics and others have acquired or created datasets to perform analyses to enhance our understanding of the relationship between the tort system and insurance markets. Such studies have helped shift tort reform debates away from rhetoric and toward inferences drawn from facts. While our ability to assess rhetorical claims has been limited given lack of access to private settlement data, recently discovered datasets collected by state insurance departments have provided a window into settlement outcomes, along with a variety of other features of the liability system and insurance markets. Instead of supporting the claims made by those who blame medical malpractice liability system crises for rising insurance premiums, recent results using closed claims data suggest we might instead be facing a potentially worsening patient compensation crisis.


Symposium - Rising Stars: A New Generation of Scholars Looks at Civil Justice

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