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Dueling South Carolina Studies Disagree on Effects of Malpractice Award Caps

A new study by Clemson University's Center for Policy & Legal Studies concludes that caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice verdicts will not reduce...
March 17, 2003

A new study by Clemson University's Center for Policy & Legal Studies concludes that caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice verdicts will not reduce insurance premiums for doctors. The study found that while medical malpractice payouts in South Carolina increased from $7.8 million in 1991 to $49 million in 2001, the median award remained nearly constant from 1995 to 2001. The author of the study said the data showed that medical malpractice tort reform in South Carolina would probably not cause doctors' malpractice premiums to drop. Bill Mahon, a spokesman for the South Carolina Medical Association, called the study "ridiculous," saying he had seen another study that showed that capping non-economic damages at $250,000 could reduce doctors' premiums by from 5 to 7 percent.

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