For years the medical and insurance lobby in Tennessee has been trying to place financial caps on medical malpractice cases. In attempting to sell this legislation the lobbyist argued that it would stop “frivolous” lawsuits. Our legislature, however, realised that a cap would do nothing to prevent frivolous cases. It would just give the medical community and insurance companies a privileged status in society to avoid responsibility for their actions. Large verdicts are not given for frivolous lawsuits. However, large verdicts only correspond with large damages and reckless conduct.
The Tennessee legislature now has passed legislation that will help prevent frivolous medical malpractice suits. At the same time it will not put artificial limits on valid medical malpractice suits. The bill requires attorneys to give all medical providers who may be named in a malpractice suit at least 60 days notice before filing a lawsuit, and to file a “certificate of good faith” that the claim has merit. The certificate is to be filed within 90 days after the lawsuit is filed. It is based on an evaluation by an independent medical expert. Judges could sanction plaintiffs and their attorneys who they feel have acted in bad faith.
As a lawyer that represents medical malpractice victims, I applaud this legislation. Any responsible lawyer will gladly comply with this new law.