There was plenty of input from those for and against reforming procedures and awards in medical malpractice lawsuits. The House Select Committee On Tort Reform took nearly two hours to hear from the public on a new draft bill. The House version would cap non-economic awards to $250,000, while the Senate capped them at $500,000. Bill Wilson with AARP told the committee the cap would limit the action of an injured person:
Attorny Sammy Thompson, who represents medical defendants, said the large jury awards are exactly what contribute to high medical costs:
Both bills would limit the grounds of complaints against injuries during treatment in emergency rooms. The reform proposals would also allow the jury to hear about the plaintiff’s insurance and how much of the cost was already covered. Lawyers said that could not be discussed in court currently. Attorney fees would also be limited.
Manufacturers of drugs and other products would be more protected against lawsuits if they followed all of the guidelines set out by state regulators or if the drugs were found safe by regulators.
The committee didn’t vote on the bill but another meeting of the House Select Committee On Tort Reform was set for 11:00 A.M. next Thursday (April 7).