The 1974 medical malpractice "crisis" brought about extensive legislation and insurance regulation in the United States. Hospitals in many states are now required to support risk management programs that include investigation and systematic analyses of adverse patient incidents. However, no research supports the hypothesis that systematic analysis of adverse patient incidents can identify contributory factors. In this study, a simple prediction model was used to estimate relationships between adverse incidents and selected patient and environmental characteristics in a large hospital. While some of the incident-characteristic relationships were significant, none of the estimated equations yielded results that could be logically translated into policy recommendations for the hospital. These results point to the need for further research. The benefits that positive research results would have for patients, hospitals, an the bill-paying public are obvious. Additional negative results would suggest that many legislative bodies and regulatory agencies were presumptions in requiring hospitals to conduct analyses of incidents.