Tort reforms usually include awarding a limited amount of money for any type of damages like accidents, pain, distress and mental agony. For example in a car accident, the damage done to the car is $ 4,000 and the amount you need for medical treatment is 4,000. You have a total of $ 8,000 as economic damages. If you receive like say $ 5,000 for the pain and agony you have to undergo, it would come under non-economic damages.
According to studies non-economic caps resulted in reduction in losses for general and medical malpractice cover, a decreased premium and greater profit for insurers, for medical malpractice legal responsibility insurers. Which further resulted in a greater decline in the number of cases filed. On the other hand, physicians all over the country were looking for extra tort reform from the state officials in the 2005 legislative meeting.
The stability of the insurance premium towards medical liability is the main goal of the physicians. In Connecticut physicians were looking for a cap on non-economic damages and a relief in insurance premium. In South Carolina, doctors pressed for a cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages and asked for removal of the ban against compulsory negotiations among patients and doctor.
Rate Relief in Tort-Reform States
According to some doctors and lawmakers, there is still a long way to go before they recover from the medical liability crisis. Texas is one of the crisis states among the19 states according to the American Medical Association, in which doctors are resigning, restraining high-risk procedures and retiring early on because they cant find or afford the money for insurance.
The passage of Proposition 12, which restricted non-economic damages in liability awards and payments at $250,000 per physician. After the passing of Proposition 12, which guaranteed the introduction of caps accepted previously by the Texas legislature, some physicians in Texas already reported genuine premium savings. Neal Sklaver, FACP, who was a general internist with Medical Specialists Associated in Dallas, is incredibly satisfied that his premium payments have plummeted roughly $5,000 since the Proposition 12 was passed in September 2003. According to some physicians the Proposition 12 helped the doctors, but they can be still be sued for anything.
Until all liability carriers bring down their rates, the advantages of Proposition 12 might continue to elude some doctors, particularly those who are not specialized where previous rates were very high. What seems to be more disturbing is that, even doctors whose payments have reduced said that they have got used to practicing protective medicine, after so many years of working in a malpractice setting.
Whatever the outcome, but the tort reform is a very important measure by the Government, which should be handled carefully. One in fifty operations might go wrong by a doctor. Accidents happen by everyone, it is human nature to err, and we as humans should try to forgive the doctors, and see to it that they are not burdened by huge premiums,
Rate Relief in Tort-Reform States
which will be an obstacle in their career. The medical profession is one of the important and much needed profession.
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Bonnie Darves, Texas tort reform, American College of Physicians, Retrieved 23 May 2007, http://www.acponline.org/journals/news/jan05/tortreform.htm
Tanya Albert, Tort reform gives Texas doctors some relief, American Medical News, Retrieved 23 May 2007, http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/05/17/prsc0517.htm
Kathy Gill, Tort Reform State Recap, About.com, Retrieved 23 May 2007, http://uspolitics.about.com/od/healthcare/a/01_tort_reform.htm
The Issues Tort Reform, CBS Evening News, Retrieved 23 May 2007, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/01/eveningnews/main652747.shtml
Charles Kolodkin, Tort Reform and Its Impact on Medical Malpractice Insurance, IRMI.com, Retrieved 23 May 2007, http://www.irmi.com/Expert/Articles/2003/Kolodkin03.aspx