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Oklahoma

Recent Reforms Enacted (since 2003) Non-economic damage cap was lowered from $400K to $350K and strengthened so that the cap would not be removed based on degree of injury.  Cap could still be removed if clear and convincing evidnece of reckless disregard or gross negligence (2011). Affidavit of merit required. Joint and several liability only applies if the defendant is 50% or greater at fault (2009). Protects a physician in expressing sympathy to a patient for an unintended outcome (2004).
Emergency Care Provision $300,000 cap on non-economic damages for obstetrics services and emergency care. Only lifted if judge finds "clear and convincing" evidence of negligence. $300,000 cap for all other providers only applies if the defendant made an offer to settle and the amount of the verdict is less than 1½ times the amount of the final offer to settle. (special cap repealed upon passage of$350K  cap for all).
Reform Elements In Law

$400K Soft Cap
Collateral Source
Joint Liability
I’m Sorry Law
Attorney Fee Limit
Patient Compensation System

Constitutional Status of Reforms Affidavit of Merit requirement ruled unconstitutional in 2006 by 8-1 vote.  The court ruled the law violated constitutional provisions against special laws, since it put medical laibility cases in a separate class from other negligence claims. In 2011,(Wall v Marouk) the court again ruled against certificate of merits, saying it is a "special law" applying only to professional negligence cases, not all negligence cases generally and it creates "an undue financial barrier on access to the courts."
Change in Insurance Rates AMA reports at least one insurer raised rates more than 100% in 2004. In March 2004, Physicians Liability Insurance Co., a subsidiary of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, asked the state insurance commissioner to approve a 50% increase in premiums, a year after an 82.8% hike to be implemented over three years was approved.
Insurance Availability In 2004, the state insurance department ordered Physicians Liability Insurance Co., which insures about 80 percent of Oklahoma's physicians, to be placed under the agency's formal supervision. The insurance commissioner stated that the insurer is technically Insolvent and while it can currently pay claims, it lacks the reserves to pay anticipated future claims.
Change in Physician Availability Information not available.
Change in Cases Filed/Awards 132 paid claims in 2003 or 18.3 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians. US avg. was 18.8 per 1000. 173 paid claims in 2005 or 23.9 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians. US avg. was 17.1 per 1000. (Kaiser) 127 total number of paid claims for 2006 or 15.0 per 1,000 active, non-federal physicians.160 paid claims in 2007.
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