Legislatures in several states, including Kentucky, West Virginia, and Georgia, have either recently passed or are seeking to pass new reforms to medical malpractice laws in those states that would delay, and make it more difficult for victims of medical malpractice to obtain, justice.
Multiple States Seek to Restrict Medical Malpractice Laws
The Kentucky Senate passed Senate Bill 6, which "would require Kentucky
medical malpractice victims to submit their claims to a three-member panel
of medical experts who would review the claim and render a nonbinding
The medical malpractice victim would not be able to take legal action against the health care provider until the panel had rendered its opinion. The panel has 180 days from the date of the selection of the final member of the panel to render an opinion.
The vote was 24-12 along party lines in the Republican-controlled Senate. No word on whether the bill would become law were it to reach the desk of the state's democratic governor.
West Virginia already has very restrictive medical malpractice caps on
non-economic damages. Most instances are capped at $250,000 with exceptions
being made for a handful of instances such as wrongful death, which are
capped at $500,000.
Under the new bill, which is currently in the state's Senate, these protections would be expanded to cover a number of parties not currently covered under West Virginia's Medical Professional Liability law to, among others, "any person taking actions or providing service or treatment pursuant to or in furtherance of a physician's plan of care, a health care facility's plan of care, medical diagnosis or treatment, as well as others."
A new Senate bill (86) in Georgia would completely eliminate the jury system for litigation of medical malpractice cases. Instead, a medical review panel would be established to review every medical malpractice incident submitted by medical malpractice victims. Victims would have no recourse if they did not agree with the decision of the panel and would be stripped of their right to a trial by jury under the state's constitution.