chapter  27
17 Pages

Doctors, Damages, and Deterrence: An Economic View of Medical Malpractice WILLIAM B. SCHWARTZ and NEIL K. KOMESAR

Attacks on the malpractice system are widespread and intense. According to some critics, too many claims are brought, and excessive damages are awarded. Others decry the lawyers’ contingency fee as an inducement to unwarranted suits, or assert that the system penalizes physicians randomly. These, and other criticisms, have led to demands for major reform-even to proposals that the tort system be replaced wholly or in part by other methods for dealing with

medical injury. Curiously enough, the perceived failings and proposed cor­ rectives are rarely subjected to critical scrutiny; rather, they are taken as selfevident.