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Medical Malpractice$
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Frank A. Sloan and Lindsey M. Chepke

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262195720

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262195720.001.0001

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Ceilings on Nonmonetary and Total Losses

Ceilings on Nonmonetary and Total Losses

Chapter:
(p.106) (p.107) 5 Ceilings on Nonmonetary and Total Losses
Source:
Medical Malpractice
Author(s):

A. Sloan Frank

M. Chepke Lindsey

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262195720.003.0005

Some tort reforms in effect transfer money from injury victims and their attorneys to health care providers. Flat caps on damages, the overwhelming favorite of the lobbies for provider organizations, particularly since 2000, fall in this category. Placing a cap on damages has no potential for improving patient safety. In addition, this policy disproportionately makes plaintiffs with severe injuries worse off. A stronger argument for limits on awards is that there is considerable variation in awards, limiting, among other things, the injury deterrent signal. As an alternative to flat caps, this chapter examines proposals to schedule damages fully for nonmonetary loss rather than just place limits on the high payments. Another alternative to fixed lump-sum payments, periodic payments, or even a complement to scheduled damages, is service benefit insurance contracts to cover medical, custodial, educational, and rehabilitative services. The chapter also describes a proposal for service benefit contracts.

Keywords:   medical malpractice, tort reforms, flat caps, damage caps, nonmonetary loss, lump-sum payments, service benefit insurance contracts

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