Civil Justice Featured Research Archive

2010

2009

Changes Needed to Reduce Volatility in California's Workers' Compensation Insurance Market — Dec. 10, 2009

roller coaster ride

California's workers' compensation insurance market will remain vulnerable to wide swings in performance unless changes are made to improve the predictability of costs, transparency of pricing decisions, regulatory oversight and consistency of the incentives facing different parties.

The Abuse of Medical Diagnostic Practices in Mass Litigation: The Case of Silica — Nov. 13, 2009

doctors looking at an xray of human lungs

Claims for injuries caused by inhaling silica dust skyrocketed from 2001 to 2003, and silica was compared to asbestos—having the potential to be a mass tort that would last for decades. This report reviews the court proceedings that led to the uncovering of abusive diagnostic practices in silica litigation, then identifies several ways to uncover and prevent similar diagnosing practices in the future.

A Framework for Analyzing Influences and Outcomes of Mass Litigation Episodes in the U.S. — Sep. 21, 2009

gavel and scales

Mass-litigation episodes involving claims alleging personal or financial injury or property damage are a familiar feature of the U.S. civil-legal landscape. This paper proposes a conceptual framework for analyzing the roles of social, institutional, economic, and legal factors that affect or are affected by mass litigation.

Patterns of Specialization in Medical Malpractice Among Contingency Fee Attorneys — Sep. 16, 2009

gavel and stethoscope

Medical malpractice has been characterized as a narrow specialty within an already specialized segment of the legal profession. This study examines patterns of specialization among plaintiffs' firms that handle medical malpractice cases or have an interest in doing so, using data from 965 plaintiffs' attorneys who responded to a 2006 national survey.

The Relation between Regulation and Class Actions: Evidence from the Insurance Industry — Aug. 13, 2009

thick binders of legal documents

In the United States, insurance is regulated both by state insurance commissions and class action litigation but the interaction of these two systems has not been extensively studied. This report examines the relation between regulation and class actions in the insurance industry.

Substance Use Is Not the Primary Cause of Workplace Injuries, but Is a Contributing Factor — May 27, 2009

man in hospital with bloody head wound, oxygen mask

Occupational injuries are a serious public-health issue and cause significant morbidity and mortality in the United States, with direct and indirect costs extending beyond injured workers to their families, other workers, firms, and consumers. This paper explores the link between substance use and work-related accidents.

Liability and Regulation of Autonomous Vehicle Technologies — Apr. 1, 2009

Two autonomous vehicles at an intersection

Autonomous vehicle technologies and advanced driver-assistance systems have the potential to significantly improve transportation safety and efficiency, and, collectively, they may offer tremendous social, economic, and environmental benefits. This research is an initial step toward understanding the liability and regulatory issues that arise from the shift in responsibility for driving from the driver to the vehicle itself.

Does Treatment Respond to Reimbursement Rates? Evidence from Trauma Care and No-Fault Insurance in Colorado — Jan. 29, 2009

Blood pressure

Some models of provider behavior predict that physicians, like other experts, may respond dysfunctionally to financial incentives by recommending unnecessary treatment. The authors empirically test this relationship using data from inpatient hospitalizations surrounding a 2003 Colorado auto insurance reform.

2008

Is Employer-Based Health Insurance A Barrier To Entrepreneurship? — Nov. 21, 2008

A small business

Using a number of new approaches, RAND researchers found that there is evidence for "entrepreneurship lock"—that the focus on employer-provided health care in the United States may prevent the creation of some new businesses.

Mandatory Workplace Safety and Health Programs: Implementation, Effectiveness, and Benefit-Cost Trade-Offs — Nov. 19, 2008

men in hard hats, suits

In 1998, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began efforts to require all workplaces to establish a safety and health program to reduce the risk of occupational injuries and illnesses. By 1999, it had stopped pursuing these federal standards, partly due to intense criticism of their value. This report assesses the standard, concluding with recommendations should authorities revisit the initiative.

A History of Chinese Corporate Governance Sheds Light on Economic Growth and Reform — Nov. 12, 2008

cement mixer beneath Chairman Mao painting in China, photo courtesy of Flickr/tingley

As China has moved toward a stronger role for private enterprise and capitalism it has also sought to adopt more Western-style oversight mechanisms and legal standards for corporate governance - a history of which is found here with an examination of attendant problems and their policy implications.

Behavioral Finance Forum to be Hosted by RAND — Sep. 18, 2008

Calculating finances

The Behavioral Finance Forum, an organization dedicated to helping consumers make better financial decisions, will become an initiative of the nonprofit RAND Corporation.

The Legal and Economic Implications of Electronic Discovery — Mar. 9, 2008

woman looking at computer screen

Pretrial discovery is central to the American civil legal process, however the growing volume of electronically stored information has led to concerns over the effects of electronic discovery (e-discovery). A preliminary model explores the range of plausible effects that e-discovery might have on case outcomes.

Complexity of Industry Makes It Difficult to Distinguish Broker-Dealers & Investment Advisers — Jan. 3, 2008

Financial businessman

The financial services industry is complex and financial service professionals are becoming less distinguishable and more inter-related. However, investors are generally highly satisfied with their own financial service providers.

2007

The Victims of Terrorism: An Assessment of Their Influence and Growing Role in Policy, Legislation, and the Private Sector — Nov. 19, 2007

Fireman standing in front of an American flag

Since September 11, 2001, organized groups of families and friends have emerged to become a powerful voice in U.S. counterterrorist policy and legislation. These groups have been successful in establishing the 9/11 Commission and implementing its most important recommendations.

Taxpayers, Policyholders Benefit from Terrorism Risk Insurance Program — Oct. 10, 2007

World Trade Center and Brooklyn Bridge during terrorist attack

Taxpayers save money and businesses are better protected with the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) in place than if the act is allowed to expire. TRIA allows the insurance industry to play a larger role in compensating losses caused by smaller terrorist attacks by transferring some of the risk for the largest attack to the government.

Identifying Fraud, Abuse, and Error in Personal Bankruptcy Filings — Sep. 12, 2007

RAND Analyses on Policy Issues in Personal Bankruptcies

At the request of the U.S. Trustee Program, the RAND Corporation investigated how to better identify and measure fraud, abuse, and error in personal bankruptcies. RAND looked for lessons learned from other government programs and the private sector and conclude that a data-enabled case filing system, incorporating lessons from the IRS and GSA as well as the private sector, may be the direction for the future of the bankruptcy court system.

Senior Drivers Less Likely than Youngest Drivers to Cause Accidents — Jul. 18, 2007

Man driving a car

A study by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice reveals that drivers aged 65 and older are less risky than younger drivers. These findings have implications for states who are considering tightening licensing requirements for older drivers.

Wind Insurance Costly and Scarce on Gulf of Mexico Coast — Jul. 18, 2007

Wind blowing a tree

Wind insurance costs for businesses have increased dramatically while policy coverage has dwindled, and in some cases risk has shifted from insurers to taxpayers. The scarcity and high cost of wind insurance has delayed some business investments in the Gulf States region.

Going-Private Decisions and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002: A Cross-Country Analysis - Summary business meeting— Jul. 2, 2007

This working paper summarizes an investigation on whether the regulatory regime created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has driven firms in general, but particularly small firms, out of the public capital market.

Lender-Placed Flood Insurance Market for Residential Properties Photo by Andrea Booher/FEMA Photo— Jun. 27, 2007

This report provides systematic information on the size of the private flood insurance market, how policies that private insurers offer compare with those of the National Flood Insurance Program, and the reasons buyers choose private market policies over federal program policies.

Should the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 Be Extended? The Statue of Liberty in New York— Jun. 5, 2007

Interim findings from a RAND Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy project suggest that the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act performs well on outcomes examined for conventional attacks but not for chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear ones.

Class Actions Against Insurers Rose Prior to Recent Reforms — May 1, 2007 (revised)

Little is known about the workings of the class action process. This book provides the most comprehensive portrait to date of insurance class actions, using data collected from 57 large U.S. insurance companies for almost 750 class action cases.

Testimony before the House Science and Technology Committee the exterior of a large granite courthouse building— Apr. 26, 2007

Senior policy researcher Bruce Held presented testimony before the House Science and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation on April 26, 2007.

Insurance Class Actions in the United States — Apr. 4, 2007

gavel

Little is known about the workings of the class action process. This book provides the most comprehensive portrait to date of insurance class actions, using data collected from 57 large U.S. insurance companies for almost 750 class action cases.

Cataclysmic Liability Risk Among Big Four Auditors — Feb. 1, 2007

Since the implosion of Arthur Andersen in 2002, many have advocated that the auditing industry should be insulated from legal liability, arguing that the profession faces such high risk of cataclysmic liability that its future viability is imperiled. This article discusses the legal, theoretical, and empirical nature of that claim.

2006

National Security and Terrorism Insurance — 2006

The debate over government in markets for terrorism insurance should go beyond the question of whether private markets are sufficient and consider its national security aspects. If terrorism insurance enhances economic resilience after an attack, then there is a strong rationale for government intervention, above and beyond what private markets can offer.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act Had Short-Lived Effect on Small Businesses — May 8, 2006

Small publicly traded companies were disproportionately affected by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act – a federal law that tightened financial reporting requirements for publicly owned companies – in the first year after the law was enacted in 2002.

Small, Single-Location Workplaces Are Among the Safest Places to Work — May 5, 2006

Small workplaces that are a business' only location are among the safest places to work. Fatal accidents are most common at small worksites with fewer than 20 workers that are operated by middle-sized businesses.

Few Homeowners Buy Flood Insurance When It Is Not Required — Feb. 21, 2006

Only about half of homeowners living in some of the most flood-prone areas of the United States buy federal flood insurance, leaving millions of families at risk for severe financial losses when floods strike.

2005

Terrorism Risk Insurance Act Effective at Sharing Financial Risk — Oct. 25, 2005

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) creates an effective mechanism for sharing the financial risk that businesses face from terrorism. Still, less than half of all businesses have terrorism insurance; the U.S. government should consider encouraging these businesses to buy coverage.

California Should Improve Treatment Guidelines for Injured Workers — Sep. 8, 2005

The treatment guidelines being used to define medically appropriate care for California's injured workers need substantial improvement, according to a joint ICJ-RAND Health working paper released November 15 at a meeting of the California Commission on Health, Safety, and Workers' Compensation.

Evaluating California's Disability Rating System — Jul. 27, 2005

California's system of evaluating the severity of injuries of permanently disabled workers has long been widely criticized. A thorough analysis of the system found that it works well in certain respects but is frought with inconsistencies and inequities.

U.S. Terrorism Insurance System Falling Short — Jun. 21, 2005

The terrorism insurance system in the United States is failing to provide businesses with adequate financial protection, leaving the nation vulnerable to economic disruption if there is a major terrorist attack.

Growth of Medical Malpractice Lower Than Previously Thought — Jun. 1, 2005

Growth in malpractice payments made on behalf of physicians is consistent with increases in the cost of health care. A preoccupation with data on judgments, extreme awards, or specific specialties results in an incomplete understanding of the growth of physician malpractice payments.

Asbestos-Related Claims Exceed 730,000, Cost More than $70 Billion — May 10, 2005

Claims for asbestos injuries have risen sharply since the 1990s and total more than 730,000 through 2002. At least 8,400 defendants have paid more than $70 billion on the litigation, 42 percent of which has gone to claimants.

Workplace Injuries Increase Disabilities Among Older Adults, Raising Social Security and Medicare Costs — Apr. 25, 2005

About one-third of all disabled people in their 50s —and half of all disabled men —became disabled because of their jobs, according to research published in the Social Security Bulletin (Vol. 65, No. 4) by the ICJ's Robert Reville and Robert Schoeni of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR).

2004

RAND Provides Technical Assistance in Implementation of California Workers' Compensation Reforms — Dec. 23, 2004

California’s SB 899 introduced sweeping reforms to the California workers’compensation system, including the requirement that the system for evaluating the severity of permanent disabilities incorporate empirical data on injured workers’long-term loss of income. An ICJ working paper has compiled information for more than 23 different categories of disability, to assist the state in its reforms.

New Insurance Program Could Reduce California Workers' Comp Costs — Dec. 20, 2004

Consolidating employers' health care and disability benefits into a "24-hour care" insurance program could potentially yield substantial workers' compensation savings for California.

Compensation for 9/11 Attacks Tops $38 Billion — Nov. 8, 2004

Victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks -- both individuals and businesses -- have received at least $38.1 billion in compensation, with insurance companies and U.S. government providing more than 90 percent of payments. This report examines the performance of the compensation system -- insurance, tort, government programs, and charity -- in responding to the losses.

Report Examines U.S. Government's Role in Terrorism Insurance — Nov. 8, 2004

A new paper from the RAND Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy explores the debate over whether to extend, modify, or end the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, which requires insurers to make terrorism coverage available to commercial policyholders.

Kauffman-RAND Center for the Study of Small Business and Regulation is Launched — Sep. 16, 2004

The center — operated by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice — is made possible by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which works with partners to encourage entrepreneurship across America and improve the education of children and youth.

RAND, LRN Form Alliance to Study Corporate Ethics — Sep. 7, 2004

The RAND Institute for Civil Justice and LRN have established a strategic alliance to create the LRN-RAND Center for Corporate Ethics, Law and Governance to study ways businesses can best conduct operations ethically, legally and profitably at the same time.

California Medical Malpractice Law Cuts Payments to Lawsuit Winners — Jul. 12, 2004

A landmark California law that caps non-economic awards in medical malpractice trials has cut defendants' payments from jury verdicts by 30 percent.

2003

Report Evaluates California's Permanent Disability Rating Schedule — Dec. 5, 2003

Changing California's permanent disability rating schedule, which is used to determine the amount of and eligibility for disability benefits, could improve outcomes for injured workers and their employers.