Recent Reforms Enacted (since 2003) 2003: Caps only punitive damages at the greater of $250,000 or three times the compensatory damages, not to exceed $1 million. Abolishes joint and several liability, requires affidavit of merit, provides venue reform and periodic payments.
Emergency Care Provision None
Reform Elements In Law Joint Liability
Periodic Payments
Expert Testimony
Constitutional Status of Reforms 2005-State Supreme Court upheld two year statute of limitations in filing wrongful death claim. 2007-State Supreme Court ruled affidavit of merit law unconstitutional (Summerville vs. Thrower)
Change in Insurance Rates AMA reports at least one insurer raised rates as much as 0 to 25% in 2004. The state insurance dept. reported 9 insurers increased their base premium rates in 2003 and 3 increased their rates in 2004.
Insurance Availability The Arkansas Insurance Department reported that 88 companies carried liability polices in 1996. In 2003, only nine did and only four companies were considering new policies.
Change in Physician Availability There are 92 physicians per 100,000 residents — the 5th lowest in the United States (HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, July 3, 2003)
Change in Cases Filed/Awards 68 paid claims in 2003 or 12.2 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians.  US avg. was 18.8 per 1000.  76 paid claims in 2005 or 13.5 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians.  US avg. was 17.1 per 1000. (Kaiser) 57 total number of paid claims for 2006 of which 8.8 paid claims per 1,000 were active, non-federal physicians.  45 paid claims in 2007.
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