The Florida Times Union reported on February 8, 2013 that medical malpractice in Georgia will be managed more like worker’s compensation under legislation in February in the Senate.
Senate Bill 141 by Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, will create a system in which patients take complaints of physicians or medical facility mistakes to a panel of doctors for hearings rather than filing lawsuits. If the panel decides compensation is warranted, it pays out of a fund all providers pay into, like a no-fault system that covers on-the-job injuries.
The legislation aims to decrease liability-insurance premiums for healthcare providers and soon stabilize health-insurance costs for employers once doctors stop ordering unneeded tests as part of their “defensive medicine.”
Supporters say it would also get compensation for mistakes that are too small for attorneys in today’s litigation environment to take on the expense of a suit. In most medical malpractice lawsuits, attorneys advance the upfront expenses in exchange for a share of a jury payout if a client wins, but lawyers usually do not take cases that don’t have large potential awards.
Supporters of SB 141 state the legislation responds to a decision three years ago by the Georgia Supreme Court to rule not constitutional $350,000 caps on malpractice awards. Enacting the caps in 2005 had been a legislative accomplishment of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
Attorneys who file suit against physicians and medical providers for malpractice state caps take away compensation from patients and don’t prompt negligent medical professionals to adopt safeguards.
Attorneys who handle medical malpractice cases generally have been against proposals like Beach’s bill since they state the legislation takes away from patients the opportunity to present their case to a jury of their peers which is not constitutional.
Read the Article Here