Senate Bill 86 (SB86) would create a new administration system — the first of its kind in the country — to handle medical malpractice claims instead of filing lawsuits with the courts.
Supporters of the new system say it would eliminate costly jury trials and reduce the use of “defensive medicine” practices, in which doctors order unnecessary medical tests to protect themselves from potential medical malpractice lawsuits, which can drive up healthcare costs.
Medical malpractice lawyers and consumer advocates say the bill is unconstitutional and denies patients the right to have their complaints heard by a jury of their peers. Opponents also say it will lead to higher healthcare costs and more administrative efforts for doctors.
Proponents have attempted to pass the bill on several occasions, to no avail. It was recently sponsored in February 2015 by Republican Senator Brandon Beach, who nicknamed it the “Patients Compensation Act.”
If passed, the act would impose caps on how much money a victim could receive and would also force doctors and other providers to pay into an administrative fund to cover those limited financial awards.
Georgia personal injury lawyers responded immediately. “Replacing the time-tested civil jury system with a taxpayer-funded bureaucratic government agency would be an egregious infringement on Georgia citizens’ constitutional rights,” said Linley Jones, President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. “Senate Bill 86 eliminates all current procedural safeguards, legitimate accountability mechanisms and meaningful appeals processes … and I urge our lawmakers to reject this unconstitutional proposal outright.”
The Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Anapol Schwartz believe every victim of negligence deserves justice and fair compensation. As leaders in personal injury law, the firm has represented medical malpractice victims and their families for more than 30 years.