Finally: An End to Malpractice Litigation?

Jeffrey Segal, MD, JD


March 05, 2015

In This Article

Challenges to Passing the Bills

Those who benefit from the status quo will fight tooth and nail against change. This includes the trial bar, even though they will have a potential role to play in ensuring that patients' rights are preserved. Plaintiffs' lawyers will argue, for example, that state constitutions guarantee patients trial by jury, and the Patients' Compensation System removes that right.

Of course, old habits die hard. But trial lawyers would not have to risk their money going long on cases that might deliver zero payout. Plaintiffs' lawyers could assist patients without incurring any risk whatsoever, because they would be paid per transaction. Real estate attorneys, for example, have done quite well with such a model.

Whether the Patients' Compensation System is constitutional is beyond the scope of this article, but experts who have reviewed the proposed law firmly believe it passes constitutional muster.

What do patients say about a payment system as an alternative to litigation? A Georgia statewide survey by McLaughlin & Associates in August 2013 noted that 63% of participants support "reforming the current medical malpractice system" and 61% favor replacing the current medical malpractice system with a Patients' Compensation System.[4,5,6] There is an appetite on the part of the public to scrap what we currently have and try something new.


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