Georgia Tort Reform

The Georgia State Senate has taken up and aims to pass an extremely aggressive tort reform package. For years the state’s trial lawyers have backed Democrats. Now it’s payback time.

The Georgia Senate approved tighter rules Tuesday for people trying to sue doctors for malpractice, an effort to try to drive down insurance premiums for doctors.

The vote came after the state’s largest malpractice insurer, MAG Mutual, promised senators in a letter that they’d drop premiums 10 percent if the malpractice bill was approved. Doctors have been pushing for the reforms for years, saying they’re being choked by high premiums.

The measure limits awards for some damages at $750,000 for people hurt by negligent doctors, and also tweaks rules in the legal system to discourage frivolous lawsuits and encourage people to settle out of court.

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The most animated part of the debate came before the bill was even considered, when ruling Republicans squashed any opportunity for amendments to the bill. That move forces senators to vote simply yes-or-no, and dramatically shortens debate.

Of course, now the State GOP is going to see the full fury of the trial lawyers as the lawyers wage the battle on their turf — sympathetic courts stacked with Democrat appointed judges. I give it ten months before the Georgia courts rule the law unconstitutional on novel grounds.

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Erick Erickson

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  • To Whom It May Concern: This tort reform effects more than insurance premiums. It allows the physicians and especially nursing home facilities to carry on business as usual without fear of being caught red-handed for their actions. How can you put a cap on life? My anger is geared toward officials making decisions for us “little people” without regard to whom is really going to be effected by this decision. It still goes to show the rich keep on being rich while the unfortunate poor have to live in substandard nursing home facilities. No one is speaking for the patient who has to live in a substandard nursing homes, who are not getting physical therapy regularly, who has to live with the smell of feces and urine in the air, who has bed sores because no one will turn them, who do not get their medications on time, who are in constant pain because of medicine not being administered. We are required to treat our elderly with dignity and respect. Where is the dignity or respect in this? I pray that these questions and other questions are answered along the way and that we set a standard for ourselves when it comes to neglect and abuse by the very people who are sworn to protect and care for our elderly patients.