Compromise medical malpractice bill passes

On April 24, 2008, in News 2008, by Mark Norris

By John Rodgers,
April 24, 2008

A compromise bill aimed at cutting down on medical malpractice lawsuits is headed to Gov. Phil Bredesen’s desk after the state Senate unanimously approved the measure this morning.

Earlier this month, the House passed the bill 93-1.

The bill, among other things, tries to limit possibly frivolous lawsuits being filed by requiring plaintiff’s attorneys to have a medical expert sign a “certificate of good faith” that medical malpractice occurred.

That must occur within 90 days of the lawsuit being filed. Failing to do so could lead to the attorney being punished.

“This will probably cut down on the number of lawsuits,” said Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville), the Senate sponsor of the bill.

The compromise legislation does not, however, place caps on non-economic damages that a judge or jury could award to a patient enduring pain and suffering from a malpractice action.

The Tennessee Medical Association had long sought the limitations on non-economic damages, but had repeatedly failed in the state House.

If the bill ultimately becomes law, as expected, it would become effective Oct. 1. Lawsuits filed before then would not have the new requirements.

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