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Tort Reform in Tennessee

Sunshine

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Well they did it. I think this is a sad day for the American taxpayer. That injured patient, messed up baby, etc. will now become the burden of our tax system instead of the burded of the person who messed him/her up. Making a clinician less accountable does not make him/her a better clinician.

Tennessee Legislature sends tort reform package to governor
Tennessee lawmakers on Friday gave final approval to the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011, a major tort reform package and one of new Gov. Bill Haslam's very few legislative priorities to improve the state's business climate. In several votes in both chambers, the bill(s) (HB 2008 and SB 1522) passed by two-to-one margins, more or less.

•News release, "Haslam Applauds Final Passage of Tennessee Civil Justice Act!"

•News release from business coalition, "Tennesseans for Economic Growth Praise Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Lawmakers for Passing Comprehensive Civil Justice Reform Law"

•Nashville Public Radio, "Tort Reform Bill Heads to Governor, With Promise of More Debate in 2012"

•Memphis Commercial Appeal, "Tennessee House gives final approval to bill capping personal-injury damage awards"

•Southern Political Report, "Tennessee: Haslam, legislature enact conservative agenda"

Legislative debate over the bill took a celebrity turn when the Tennessee Association for Justice, the trial lawyer group, hired actor-turned-Senator-turned-actor Fred Thompson (R-TN) to lobby against the bill. The mixture of star power and avuncular testimony obviously didn't work.

Key provisions as identified in a news release from the Lieutenant Governor's office.


•The bill limits the maximum appeal bond amount from $75 million to $25 million or 125 percent of the judgment amount.

•It defines two components of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic damages.

•The measure places a cap on non-economic damages, which are subjective damages like pain and suffering, at $750,000 per injured plaintiff for both healthcare liability action and other personal injury actions. However, if the harm suffered is intentional, the caps would not apply.

•As amended, the bill raises the cap to $1.0 million if the plaintiff becomes a paraplegic or quadriplegic because of spinal cord injury, sustains third degree burns over 40 percent or more of his or her body or face, has an amputation of a hand or foot, or wrongfully dies leaving one or more minor children.

•There is no cap, under the measure, on economic damages and any damages that can be objectively quantified may be recovered.

•Caps punitive damages, which must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, at two times compensatory damage or $500,000, whichever is greater unless the defendant intended to injure the plaintiff, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or intentionally falsified records to avoid liability.

•Prevents punitive damages in products liability actions, unless the seller had substantial control over the design or manufacturing of the product or had actual knowledge of the defect in the product at the time it was sold.

PointOfLaw Forum: Tennessee Legislature sends tort reform package to governor
 
OP
Sunshine

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Do you suppose this will result in reduced liability premiums and therefor reduced medical costs?

So far tort reform in the states that have it has not done that. But what if it did. WE, the taxpayers, would still be paying for all the injured through SSD and Medicaren instead of holding the medical provider responsible. I am amazed at the stupidity of the American people who buy into this line of bullshit. This is just another cha ching for the doctors.
 
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Quantum Windbag

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Well they did it. I think this is a sad day for the American taxpayer. That injured patient, messed up baby, etc. will now become the burden of our tax system instead of the burded of the person who messed him/her up. Making a clinician less accountable does not make him/her a better clinician.

Tennessee Legislature sends tort reform package to governor
Tennessee lawmakers on Friday gave final approval to the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011, a major tort reform package and one of new Gov. Bill Haslam's very few legislative priorities to improve the state's business climate. In several votes in both chambers, the bill(s) (HB 2008 and SB 1522) passed by two-to-one margins, more or less.

•News release, "Haslam Applauds Final Passage of Tennessee Civil Justice Act!"

•News release from business coalition, "Tennesseans for Economic Growth Praise Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Lawmakers for Passing Comprehensive Civil Justice Reform Law"

•Nashville Public Radio, "Tort Reform Bill Heads to Governor, With Promise of More Debate in 2012"

•Memphis Commercial Appeal, "Tennessee House gives final approval to bill capping personal-injury damage awards"

•Southern Political Report, "Tennessee: Haslam, legislature enact conservative agenda"

Legislative debate over the bill took a celebrity turn when the Tennessee Association for Justice, the trial lawyer group, hired actor-turned-Senator-turned-actor Fred Thompson (R-TN) to lobby against the bill. The mixture of star power and avuncular testimony obviously didn't work.

Key provisions as identified in a news release from the Lieutenant Governor's office.


•The bill limits the maximum appeal bond amount from $75 million to $25 million or 125 percent of the judgment amount.

•It defines two components of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic damages.

•The measure places a cap on non-economic damages, which are subjective damages like pain and suffering, at $750,000 per injured plaintiff for both healthcare liability action and other personal injury actions. However, if the harm suffered is intentional, the caps would not apply.

•As amended, the bill raises the cap to $1.0 million if the plaintiff becomes a paraplegic or quadriplegic because of spinal cord injury, sustains third degree burns over 40 percent or more of his or her body or face, has an amputation of a hand or foot, or wrongfully dies leaving one or more minor children.

•There is no cap, under the measure, on economic damages and any damages that can be objectively quantified may be recovered.

•Caps punitive damages, which must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, at two times compensatory damage or $500,000, whichever is greater unless the defendant intended to injure the plaintiff, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or intentionally falsified records to avoid liability.

•Prevents punitive damages in products liability actions, unless the seller had substantial control over the design or manufacturing of the product or had actual knowledge of the defect in the product at the time it was sold.
PointOfLaw Forum: Tennessee Legislature sends tort reform package to governor

I think you misunderstand what the award can be.


  • Up to $1,000,000 in pain and suffering.
  • Another $500,000 in punitive damages.
  • No limit on economic damages, such as lost wages, medical expenses.
This might not make anyone rich beyond their dreams, but it should keep them off of public roles if the defendant has enough money to pay.
 

flacaltenn

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Well they did it. I think this is a sad day for the American taxpayer. That injured patient, messed up baby, etc. will now become the burden of our tax system instead of the burded of the person who messed him/her up. Making a clinician less accountable does not make him/her a better clinician.

It does NOT do that. There is NO CAP on economic damages. ALL of the future care of that person is included in that side of the settlement. It's only the "punitive" Non-Economic side of the judgement that is capped. Maybe read your own OP again?

PLEASE realize the diff -- before you go off with all the partisian crappola that generally arrives in the following posts.

Tying the "punishment" amount to 2X real economic damages ought to be sufficient to prevent juries from just emptying the checkbook of a doctor (or lawyer) who makes an honest mistake.
 
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OP
Sunshine

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Well they did it. I think this is a sad day for the American taxpayer. That injured patient, messed up baby, etc. will now become the burden of our tax system instead of the burded of the person who messed him/her up. Making a clinician less accountable does not make him/her a better clinician.

It does NOT do that. There is NO CAP on economic damages. ALL of the future care of that person is included in that side of the settlement. It's only the "punitive" Non-Economic side of the judgement that is capped. Maybe read your own OP again?

PLEASE realize the diff -- before you go off with all the partisian crappola that generally arrives in the following posts.

Tying the "punishment" amount to 2X real economic damages ought to be sufficient to prevent juries from just emptying the checkbook of a doctor (or lawyer) who makes an honest mistake.


OK, so tell me why all the med mal lawyers I know in TN are bailing and going into other fields.

Honest mistake! My ass! Med mal is NOT an 'honest mistake.' There are 4 elements to negligence; duty, breach, causation, and damages. It takes a lot to get over that hurdle and once one does it goes way beyond anything like and 'honest mistake.'

I continue to be amazed that people of modest means get so invested in keeping doctors rich that they will fuck themselves. It just blows my mind.

Making a provider less accountable does not make him a better clinician.
 

flacaltenn

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Well they did it. I think this is a sad day for the American taxpayer. That injured patient, messed up baby, etc. will now become the burden of our tax system instead of the burded of the person who messed him/her up. Making a clinician less accountable does not make him/her a better clinician.

It does NOT do that. There is NO CAP on economic damages. ALL of the future care of that person is included in that side of the settlement. It's only the "punitive" Non-Economic side of the judgement that is capped. Maybe read your own OP again?

PLEASE realize the diff -- before you go off with all the partisian crappola that generally arrives in the following posts.

Tying the "punishment" amount to 2X real economic damages ought to be sufficient to prevent juries from just emptying the checkbook of a doctor (or lawyer) who makes an honest mistake.


OK, so tell me why all the med mal lawyers I know in TN are bailing and going into other fields.

Honest mistake! My ass! Med mal is NOT an 'honest mistake.' There are 4 elements to negligence; duty, breach, causation, and damages. It takes a lot to get over that hurdle and once one does it goes way beyond anything like and 'honest mistake.'

I continue to be amazed that people of modest means get so invested in keeping doctors rich that they will fuck themselves. It just blows my mind.

Making a provider less accountable does not make him a better clinician.

Awww.. The med mal lawyers are fleeing.. Ain't that an f'in shame..

They're fleeing because the ECONOMIC DAMAGES that the victim recovers doesn't buy the lawyer a brand new sporty Benz.. It's NOTHING like you posted in the OP.

And why am I "getting so invested"? Because I hate to see minorities of ANY KIND made into convienient targets of muggings for ANY REASON.. The left seems to think that they can slice and dice by demographics and assert any power over they wish over small pockets of convienient cash.. We won't let you get away with that..

BTW: I've PERSONALLY seen "honest mistakes" severely impact my family. And all I ever wanted was compensation for the damages and an apology...
 
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martybegan

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Do you suppose this will result in reduced liability premiums and therefor reduced medical costs?

So far tort reform in the states that have it has not done that. But what if it did. WE, the taxpayers, would still be paying for all the injured through SSD and Medicaren instead of holding the medical provider responsible. I am amazed at the stupidity of the American people who buy into this line of bullshit. This is just another cha ching for the doctors.

How is there economic liabilty to the state when the economic liabilty is not limted? If you can prove that:

A) the party was negligent
B) The actual costs of care for the extended period of the person's life:

Then you can still sue for that amount. If patient X needs a ventiator for the next 30 years, that is a quantifiable cost.

This still allows up to 750k for such nebulous things as pain and suffering.

What we needs to be controlled is punitive damages, which are basically there to "punish" a company. If punishment is merited it should be criminally handled, not civilly.

All punitive damages do is increase the fee the lawyers can get out of a case.
 

Missourian

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OK, so tell me why all the med mal lawyers I know in TN are bailing and going into other fields.

Because now there is much more money to be made in other fields.


Honest mistake! My ass! Med mal is NOT an 'honest mistake.' There are 4 elements to negligence; duty, breach, causation, and damages. It takes a lot to get over that hurdle and once one does it goes way beyond anything like and 'honest mistake.'

An honest mistake as in, not intentional or performed with malicious intent.



I continue to be amazed that people of modest means get so invested in keeping doctors rich that they will fuck themselves. It just blows my mind.

Doctors don't pay, insurance companies do.


The insurance companies that must pay out the exorbitant judgments charge doctors who made NO mistake ever increasing rates to cover the liability.


The doctors pass that expense on to you, the patient.

So, what Tennessee is actually doing is protecting the money of people of modest means.



Making a provider less accountable does not make him a better clinician.

Pasting the insurance company doesn't make him a better clinician either.

Any more than getting an exorbitant judgement from my insurance company after a traffic accident is going to make me a better driver.
.
 

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