Monday, April 6, 2020

In Michigan there was a recent signing of tort reform legislation.  Tort reform advocates in Michigan, including medical malpractice insurer, The Doctors Company, cheered the reform.   

The Doctors Company is a large medical malpractice insurer.  The Michigan State Medical Society, with support from The Doctors Company and the Michigan Insurance Coalition, initiated the legislation known as the “Patients First Reform Package.”

The Doctors Company advocates for and defends medical liability reforms throughout the nation.  The Doctors Company has 73,000 members and $4 billion in assets, and is rated A by A.M. Best Company and Fitch Ratings.  The Michigan State Medical Society is a professional association of more than 16,000 Michigan physicians. It supports doctors in caring for and enhancing the health of Michigan citizens.

The Patients First Reform Package, made up of Senate Bills 1115 and 1118, was approved by the House and Senate in 2012 and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder. The bills restore and enhance tort reform legislation passed in 1993. The 1993 measures established protections against meritless cases and disproportionate jury awards.

Senate Bill 1115 makes it clear loss of society or companionship constitutes noneconomic damages and is subject to Michigan’s noneconomic damages limit. The bill provides how future damages are calculated to avoid judicial errors in reducing awards to present value.

Senate Bill 1118 limits the time period for suing on behalf of a deceased person and stops prejudgment interest on costs and attorney fees incurred during the time prior to the issuing of a judgment.

The passage of the legislation is said to be a win for Michigan’s physicians because the legislation mitigates the need to practice defensive medicine.