Do Expert Witness Standards Affect Payouts?

Payouts for medical malpractice claims remain lower in Oregon than in all but seven other states, despite the loss of a cap on damage awards in 1999. What is interesting is that Oregon also does not have standards for expert witnesses to testify.

As reported in the The Oregonian:

The findings come from one of the first studies that attempts to gauge the effects of various malpractice reforms that states have adopted, mostly to cut costs…Expert witness standards made the most difference in number and size of payouts.Some states require expert witnesses to practice or to have training in the type of medicine under scrutiny in the lawsuit. These laws had about three times to four times the effect of caps on damage awards, researchers concluded.

Oregon does not have expert witness requirements, but eight of the 15 states with the lowest malpractice payments had such requirements. Only two of the 15 high-cost states had expert witness standards.