Georgia Medical Malpractice Insurance
Summary of the Georgia Medical Malpractice Insurance Market
The medical malpractice insurance environment in Georgia is a very competitive market. The top ten carriers in the state represent about $300,000,000 in premium. As of 2009, the state's largest carrier, Mag Mutual writes over a third of all the business in Georgia. New carriers have entered the state and premiums have been on the decline.
The real concern in Georgia has been from the Supreme Court ruling in early 2010, regarding the cap on non-economic damages and what type of impact this will have on the current stable environment.
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Georgia Tort Reform Summary
In March of 2010, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that $350,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits was unconstitutional. The question is how this will affect Georgia Tort Reform, Senate Bill 3, which went into effect in July of 2005.
Senate Bill 3 sought to do the following:
- Cap non-economic damages at $350,000
- Provide joint and several liability
- Provide for periodic payments for damages
- Statements of apology are not admissible
- Expert affidavit must be submitted when filing a medical malpractice case
- Establish standard of care and liability relating to emergency medicine
- Provide defendants access to plaintiff’s health information in medical malpractice cases
- Provide for provisions that govern vicarious liability of hospitals for healthcare providers relating to employment status of either employees or independent contractor
Prior to the passing of SB 3 the medical malpractice environment in Georgia was unstable. Premiums were rising, medical malpractice claims payouts were increasing, availability of coverage was decreasing, scope of practice was affected, ER services were reduced, and doctors were either retiring early or moving out of state.
With the passage of SB 3 premiums decreased, payouts decreased, the number of insurers increased. The impact of the Supreme Court ruling will probably not be known for years. The appeals process can take quite a long time.
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