New Law Could Radically Change Georgia Malpractice Claims

Medical malpractice has long been a hot-button issue as reformers routinely argue that limiting patient’s rights is one of the best ways to reduce healthcare costs. Tort reform advocates claim that the significant risk of lawsuits forces doctors to buy costly malpractice insurance. These expenses are then passed on to consumers in the form of higher healthcare costs.  Arguments are also made that doctors order more testing in order to reduce the risk of a lawsuit, which in turn drives costs up even further. hospital-corridor-2-65904-m

While these theories have largely been debunked, there are still efforts being made to curtail the rights of injured patients to sue doctors.  For example, as AJC.com reports, Georgia is currently considering legislation to overhaul the malpractice system despite fierce opposition from consumer advocates and questions about whether the proposed plan is even constitutional.

If you are injured by a doctor, you deserve to be fully compensated for all the harm that you endure as a result. An Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer can help you to pursue a claim to try to recover monetary compensation for losses.

Proposed Plan Would Overhaul Georgia Malpractice System

The new plan to overhaul the medical malpractice system in Georgia is found in Senate Bill 86, the Patient Compensation Act.  This Bill proposes to create a new administrative system that will handle all malpractice claims that patients make. The cases would be taken out of the courts, and the system would be the first of its kind within the United States.

The Patient Compensation Act would force doctors and providers to pay money into a fund to cover financial awards to patients who are injured by medical negligence.  However, the amount of money that a malpractice victim receives would be subject to strict limitations.

Supporters of Senate Bill 86 have made the same tired argument that costs of healthcare will be reduced because this new scheme would reduce the use of defensive medicine practices.  Supporters are also arguing that making the change to an administrative system would reduce the need for lengthy and expensive jury trials which many patients can’t afford. However, this argument has some problems on its face. First, attorneys generally take malpractice cases on a contingent fee basis so the plaintiffs don’t pay the costs of legal fees unless and until their case is resolved and money is recovered. Second, most cases are able to settle outside of court without the need for a lengthy jury trial.

Of course, a victim of malpractice is going to be better off if there is a little bit of a delay for a case to be settled or go to a jury if the patient ends up with full compensation at the end, rather than if the patient is quickly given a capped amount of money that doesn’t even fully cover losses.  This is why so many consumer advocates are speaking out against the proposed plan found in Senate Bill 86.

A similar bill failed last year, and hopefully will fail again since it deprives patients of their right to a trial by jury as well as of their right to full compensation for losses.

The Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. have extensive experience in medical malpractice cases. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation if you believe you or a loved one is a victim of a negligent doctor.