Senate Bill 141 Seeks to Replace Current Med-Mal System
What do workers’ compensation cases and medical malpractice suits in Georgia have in common?
Senate Bill 141.
For those of you who haven’t heard, Senate Bill 141, which was filed by Senator Brandon Beach of Alpharetta, seeks to replace Georgia’s current medical malpractice system with a workers’ compensation-esque review board. Beach initially pushed the bill as a means of ensuring that injured patients received compensation faster, while also taking some of the litigious pressure off of physicians.
Although some might see Senate Bill 141 as a win-win scenario, others have voiced some serious concerns. If Beach’s bill passes, then victims of medical malpractice will no longer have the opportunity to stand before a jury of their peers. Instead, they’ll bring their grievances before an eleven-member review board of physicians and experts.
And what’s so wrong with presenting genuine claims before genuine authority and expertise? Unfortunately, knowledge doesn’t necessarily preclude bias. Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA) lobbyist Bill Clark states that physicians are notoriously hesitant to criticize or condemn their peers’ actions before a state medical board under the current system. If a trial jury is taken out of the picture, the situation might get worse before it gets better. What’s more, Clark notes that the bill would require injured claimants to provide “an unmeetable burden of proof,” making compensation that much harder to attain.
Those opposed to Senate Bill 141 are also concerned about the constitutionality of the proposed legislation. The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, the Medical Association of Georgia, and the State Bar of Georgia stand in opposition to the bill, arguing that it would block access to the courts.
Another hearing for the bill will be held on September 24, 2013. Check back for more information about the continuing debate at lawblogatlanta.com.
Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Cases at Pope & Howard, P.C.
At Pope & Howard, P.C., we know that the consequences of medical negligence are both costly and painful, and we consider it our job to stand up for those injured hospital or doctor error. If you or a loved one has been injured by surgical errors, a misdiagnosis, or infection, contactAtlanta’s leading personal injury attorneys at (866) 910-0642.