Thursday, May 01, 2008

No Caps on Non-Economic Damages in Tennessee

Tennessee, a generally conservative state with a strong trial lawyer lobby, has never been able to pass medical malpractice reform legislation placing caps on non-economic damages, even though such legislation has proven to be an effective means of promoting adequate access to health care in states such as Texas.

Tennessee will again not be able to pass such legislation this year. After killing caps, the misnamed Tennessee Association of Justice agreed to a compromise with the Tennessee Medical Association on a bill that will allow both groups to claim victory while accomplishing nothing of substantive value. The bill requires a party filing a medical malpractice complaint to get a medical expert to sign a "certificate of good faith" stating that malpractice occurred.

The Tennessee Association of Justice is a group of ambulance chasers that used to be known as the Tennessee Trial Lawyer's Association. Evidently, some PR firm explained to the group that Americans like justice but think of trial lawyers as being disreputable.

The only effect of the bill will be to create a new cottage industry of doctors that will be willing to sign off on almost anything. It will be parallel to the situation with regard to medical experts used for independent medical exams in accident cases.

Hat Tip: Tennessee Politics Blog

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