Here is a proposed resolution that has been introduced in the General Assembly by Senator Finney, Republican from Maryville:
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 523
A RESOLUTION relative to medical malpractice reform.
WHEREAS, a fair and efficient legal system free of frivolous and abusive litigation is necessary for a vibrant economy and access to affordable health care; and
WHEREAS, rapidly increasing medical malpractice awards are driving up medical liability insurance premiums, which costs are ultimately paid by the consumers of health care services, namely patients; and
WHEREAS, frivolous medical liability lawsuits lead to hospitals closing their doors, health care providers refusing to see new patients or patients with complicated conditions, and forcing health care providers to move to other states; and
WHEREAS, reasonable caps on damages protect patients from the rising costs of and diminishing access to health care resulting from medical liability lawsuit abuse; and
WHEREAS, victims who suffer losses, and not their attorneys, should receive the major portion of damage awards; and
WHEREAS, lawsuits filed and concluded in a timely fashion promote fairness for all parties; and
WHEREAS, medical tort reforms enacting caps on damages, allowing for the inclusion of collateral source payments in jury considerations, and imposing time limits on filing lawsuits will enhance access to health care, lower medical liability insurance premiums, and lower the cost of health care; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE ONE HUNDRED FOURTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that this General Assembly does hereby strongly urge the United States Congress, and particularly Tennessee’s Congressional delegation, to support meaningful medical tort reform.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that an enrolled copy of this resolution be transmitted to each member of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation.
For those of you from out of state, Tennessee already has caps on attorneys’ fee in medical negligence cases (1/3rd), allows consideration of collateral sources, applies a locality rule, has a one-year statute of limitation and a three-year statute of repose.
Plaintiffs won six jury trials in medical negligence cases in 2004 – in the entire state.
And, by the way, several of Senator Finney’s fellow Republicans have filed legislation that gives negligent doctors and hospitals credit for life insurance and disability insurance purchased by the decedent or the decedent’s family. That’s right. The amount of the jury’s verdict would be reduced by these “collateral sources.”