Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Eric Helland

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2014 Andrew W. Dodds


In this paper, I use data from the Florida Closed Claims Database to investigate how Florida’s 2003 non-economic damage cap legislation impacted elderly malpractice claimants. More specifically, I measure whether or not non-economic damage caps adversely impact claimants in counties with high elderly densities. To measure the effect of Florida’s non-economic damage caps, I look at multiple metrics that measure both elderly claimants’ monetary gains and their access to the justice system after the reform is passed. I find mildly conclusive evidence that counties with higher elderly density, and assumedly more elderly claimants, are more likely to settle cases before reaching a jury trial and are less likely to file a medical malpractice claim. Conversely, though, I find limited evidence supporting the idea that elderly claimants receive less monetary damage payments or drop cases more. Overall, then, my findings are not consistent with the view that non-economic damage caps significantly discriminate against elderly claimants.