A Georgia state senator has introduced a bill to limit the amount of punitive damages in medical malpractice cases. It's becoming a hot topic in the Peach State, as doctors praise the plan, while trial lawyers say it will virtually punish the victims in malpractice cases. Medical malpractice reform has been spreading across the country, and now it has officially arrived in Georgia.
As WCTV found out Wednesday, doctors say the reform a must for them to stay in business, while lawyers say it ends up hurting the victims who need help the most. Georgia state senators will soon consider a bill that would limit punitive damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit to $250 thousand. Doctors say a limit must be put in place so they can afford in insurance to say in business.
And doctors like William Gee say it’s those massive jury awards that have forced malpractice insurance rates to skyrocket. Lawyers say similar caps in other states have not lowered any doctor's insurance rates.
Dennis says any cap on liability will only hurt the victims of medical malpractice, epically victims like at home mothers or children.
And Dennis points out, if a victim survives and has lingering medical problems that money wouldn't last very long. Lawyers also say it would have a negative effect on healthcare in Georgia.
This bill will likely be hotly debated in the state capitol until a final vote is taken. Bill, do doctors want to see any caps placed on actual damages?
No, but lawyers point out not every victim is eligible for actual damages, while everyone is eligible for punitive damages.