Medical Malpractice Legislation Intended to Control Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates.
After almost four hours of testimony, a Delaware House Committee voted to send new medical malpractice legislation to the floor on June 4. HB 182, sponsored by House Majority Leader Wayne Smith, is designed to reign in costs for medical malpractice insurance in Delaware. The bill seeks to implement a number of changes in the way that medical malpractice suits are conducted.
One of the biggest changes is the requirement for a Certificate of Merit applying to each defendant named in a malpractice suit, stating that there are reasonable grounds to believe that medical negligence has occurred. This certificate was recommended by a legislative task force comprised of members of the medical, insurance, and legal communities. Other aspects of the bill, such as a $250,000 cap on all non-economic damages and abolishing joint and several liability in health care negligence cases, were contended by Delaware medical malpractice attorneys. Critics of those measures claim that emotional juries and fraudulent cases (blamed by the medical community for mounting malpractice costs) are not as responsible for climbing insurance rates as the lack of regulation within the medical community itself.
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