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O'Connell papers on early offers

Prof. Jeffrey O'Connell of the University of Virginia, long associated with "early-offer" proposals to encourage prompt settlement of tort disputes, has two recently posted papers on SSRN on the topic. In "An Empirical Assessment of Early Offer Reform for Medical Malpractice" O'Connell is joined by co-authors Joni Hersch and W. Kip Viscusi of Vanderbilt:

The early offer reform proposal for medical malpractice provides an option for claimants to receive prompt payment of all their net economic losses and reasonable attorney fees. Using a large sample of closed individual medical malpractice claims from Texas supplemented by data from Florida, this article provides an empirical assessment of the consequences of the early offer reform. Non-economic damages comprise about two-thirds of paid claim amounts. The minimum payment amount for serious injuries will affect the magnitude of insurer savings and claimant compensation. Payments to claimants will be expedited by two years by the early offer reform, and litigation costs will be reduced by an average of $100,000 to $200,000 per claim.

And in "Binding Early Offers versus Caps for Medical Malpractice Claims?" O'Connell writes:

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.

Earlier here.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.