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Texas tort reformers' arguments: Do they hold water?

Texas has long had a large group of so-called tort reformers, who claim that high medical costs and other medical-related maladies owe in large part to insufficient checks on litigants who claim they have been injured through the delivery of substandard medical care.

What goes hand in glove with such an assertion are images of frivolous plaintiffs' lawsuits and out-of-control jury awards that bankrupt the system and scare away good doctors from practicing in the state.

Is any of that true? Does curtailing plaintiffs -- that is, shutting off access to courtrooms to a large degree in Texas and implementing damage caps on injury awards -- bring about lowered medical costs? Does it reassure doctors so that they don't bolt to states with more doctor-friendly legislation on the books?

Reformers say that it of course yields such results.

Medical researchers say that it doesn't.

In fact, an article chronicling the results of two studies on tort reform and malpractice damage ceilings notes the clear disinclination of university researchers to credit tort reformers' arguments with much credence at all.

As to the assertion that damage caps on injury awards drive down costs, a look at tort reform in Texas revealed to researchers no evidence at all to support the claim. In fact, in both interesting and ironic fashion, some evidence emerged that actually pointed to an increase in medical spending following damage-cap implementation.

Short shrift was also given the claim that good doctors flee plaintiff-friendly states for, again, evidence from Texas does not support that. Researchers found that the supply of doctors within the state "did not measurably improve after reform."

The bottom line regarding tort reform, says one university professor and member of the research team conducting the studies, is that "it's a very small idea." Consultation service from Maloney Law is free. Contact us today to get started.

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