New Bill Proposes Med Mal Changes

Our Georgia medical malpractice lawyers saw that a new bill has been proposed in the Georgia legislature. The bill, proposed by Senator Brandon Beach of Alpharetta, would change Georgia’s medical malpractice recovery system into a State-run board, instead of using the court system.

This bill would create a patient injury board, much like the one used in worker’s compensation claims. The board would be composed of three doctors, one hospital administrator, business executives, attorneys, one accountant, and two patient advocates, totaling 11 members. Senator Beach says that doctors order unnecessary and costly tests on their patients in fear of a medical malpractice lawsuits, and cited a Gallup poll asserting that these unnecessary tests cost $13 billion annually in unnecessary medical expenses for Georgians. The Senator links this to the rising cost of health care and proposes that this new injury board would scale back on the costs of lawsuits and thus on health care overall. Senator Beach said, “I think that this bill reduces the cost of defensive medicine. And it increases the true patient access to justice quickly.” He noted that this system will allow injured patients to have direct access to the board and to get money more quickly to compensate for the injuries suffered than under the current court system.

The bill has attracted controversy already, however. The Medical Association of Georgia opposes the bill because they claim it will increase claims and thus actually raise the cost of malpractice to the system. The Association also noted that it would undo some of the tort reform included in Georgia’s 2005 law.

As personal injury lawyers, we have different reasons for opposing this change. Our job is to ensure that deserving, injured patients get the compensation they deserve and also to keep the system honest and to prevent cover-ups of mistakes and problems, thus making healthcare safer for future patients, not only those already injured. Jay Sadd, the president of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, made an excellent point when he noted that, “The proposed bill that’s written violates the 7th amendment right to trial by jury here in Georgia. There’s also the United States constitutional right to a trial by jury. What is being attempted is to create a system of justice where doctors and other healthcare providers just sort of govern themselves.” The Medical Association is also likely correct that it wouldn’t save the state money, and the bill would replace our functioning and independent judicial system with another government-run bureaucracy – hardly a step forward.

Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you or a family member has been injured as a result of negligent medical care, the personal injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help you get the compensation you need and deserve. Our medical malpractice lawyers follow all of the legal developments in Georgia and can advise you on your legal options. Contact our law office today at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.

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