Get ready, Georgia: Tort reform is back.
“Tort reform” is the phrase used to describe laws that are aimed at limiting litigation. Typically, it’s aimed at stopping injury plaintiffs from easily recovering any kind of large settlement that those in power might deem “excessive.” Tort reform is usually hailed as a necessary to reign in frivolous lawsuits that are gouging professionals and businesses.
Numerous states have had legal and legislative battles over tort reform in the past few decades, and it’s Georgia’s turn once again. Several Republican-backed bills are aiming to change the rules of personal injury lawsuits, including medical malpractice claims, in ways that will make it very difficult for injury victims to get fair compensation for their losses.
- Rules that would make it more difficult to hold defendants liable in premise liability claims due to negligent security (which essentially would make it easier for commercial property owners to tell renters and guests that they’re “on their own” when security is lax)
- Bills that would sharply limit punitive damages in cases where a defendant’s actions were particularly shocking or reprehensible
- A bill that would lock every personal injury claim into a “one-size-fits-all” solution that doesn’t permit any nonmonetary terms in a plaintiff’s demands
- Provisions that would forbid plaintiffs from recovering compensatory damages beyond what they will pay for actual medical treatment and care (which makes it harder to try to come up with an estimate of future expenses)
Tort reform is usually touted as something that protects the general public from rising medical costs — but it doesn’t. It is mostly designed to shield malpractice insurers against liability, which gets unfairly shifted toward the most disadvantaged people of all: the injured patients who suffer at the hands of bad doctors.
More than ever, it’s becoming difficult for victims of medical malpractice and personal injuries to get fair treatment at the hands of the insurance companies involved. The rule seems to be “deny, delay and make low offers” as much as possible. That’s why it’s more important than ever to have an experienced attorney by your side if you’ve been injured.