TENNESSEE COULD SEE CHANGES IN HEALTH CARE LIABILITY PROCESS

A bill Tennessee lawmakers will consider this year would eliminate a jury trial and replace it with a hearing before a panel of doctors.

According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, there were 11,654 health care liability incidents reported in Tennessee in 2015. Of those, 2,088 resulted in a payment, and 8,071 produced an adverse action against the medical professional.

The current process for filing a health care liability claim in the state could be overhauled based on a proposal lawmakers will review this year. It is important to understand what those changes may be and how it could affect a lawsuit.

The process today

Currently, people who have suffered due to medical negligence in Tennessee has one year from the date they discovered the injury to initiate a claim. Further, there is a statute of repose that states that no one may bring a claim after three years from the incident that caused the harm.

To file a claim, a plaintiff must first complete an affidavit of merit requirement, which essentially means that an expert has been consulted and there is good faith that the claim is credible. It is possible for the case to be settled instead of moving into litigation. Should the lawsuit go to trial, a jury listens to both sides and determines whether or not the defendant will have to pay damages.

Proposed changes

News Channel 5 reports that several lawmakers in Tennessee have sponsored a bill that would change the way these claims are processed. Instead of a trial before a jury, a panel of doctors who specialize in the area that the lawsuit concerns would hear the case.

Advocates say this would shorten the amount of time it takes to reach a resolution, cutting the time down to simply months, not years. However, opponents feel it is not fair to the people who were harmed. The executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action told News Channel 5 that the new process could be detrimental because physicians may not hold their peers accountable the way a jury would.

In 2013, ProPublica issued a report that touches on this topic. It stated that physicians are reluctant to report each other for making a mistake for several reasons, such as the following:

  • Doctors have concerns about becoming involved in malpractice cases.
  • They rely on each other for referrals.
  • There is an uncertainty about exactly what happened, so they remain quiet.

No matter what path the legislation may take, it is important for people to understand their rights when it comes to health care liability. Serious losses take place, both in terms of financial damages and emotional suffering. Victims are permitted to hold physicians and facilities accountable. Anyone who has concerns about this issue should speak with a personal injury attorney in Tennessee.

A bill Tennessee lawmakers will consider this year would eliminate a jury trial and replace it with a hearing before a panel of doctors.

According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, there were 11,654 health care liability incidents reported in Tennessee in 2015. Of those, 2,088 resulted in a payment, and 8,071 produced an adverse action against the medical professional.

The current process for filing a health care liability claim in the state could be overhauled based on a proposal lawmakers will review this year. It is important to understand what those changes may be and how it could affect a lawsuit.

The process today

Currently, people who have suffered due to medical negligence in Tennessee has one year from the date they discovered the injury to initiate a claim. Further, there is a statute of repose that states that no one may bring a claim after three years from the incident that caused the harm.

To file a claim, a plaintiff must first complete an affidavit of merit requirement, which essentially means that an expert has been consulted and there is good faith that the claim is credible. It is possible for the case to be settled instead of moving into litigation. Should the lawsuit go to trial, a jury listens to both sides and determines whether or not the defendant will have to pay damages.

Proposed changes

News Channel 5 reports that several lawmakers in Tennessee have sponsored a bill that would change the way these claims are processed. Instead of a trial before a jury, a panel of doctors who specialize in the area that the lawsuit concerns would hear the case.

Advocates say this would shorten the amount of time it takes to reach a resolution, cutting the time down to simply months, not years. However, opponents feel it is not fair to the people who were harmed. The executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action told News Channel 5 that the new process could be detrimental because physicians may not hold their peers accountable the way a jury would.

In 2013, ProPublica issued a report that touches on this topic. It stated that physicians are reluctant to report each other for making a mistake for several reasons, such as the following:

  • Doctors have concerns about becoming involved in malpractice cases.
  • They rely on each other for referrals.
  • There is an uncertainty about exactly what happened, so they remain quiet.

No matter what path the legislation may take, it is important for people to understand their rights when it comes to health care liability. Serious losses take place, both in terms of financial damages and emotional suffering. Victims are permitted to hold physicians and facilities accountable. Anyone who has concerns about this issue should speak with a personal injury attorney in Tennessee.

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