Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Medical Malpractice Claims

There are many issues confronting voters this election cycle. Among the hot topics for debate by the candidates across the country are the role of government, the impact of taxes and health care costs, including the possibility of tort reform.

The candidates running for governor in Georgia are facing many, if not all, of these same issues. At the first formal debate between the candidates, the health care debate took center stage with tort reform - which could potentially limit the ability of injured patients to bring malpractice lawsuits - receiving much of the scrutiny.

In March, the Georgia Supreme Court struck down a 2005 state law that imposed limits on jury awards in medical malpractice cases.

Republican candidate Nathan Deal, a former Congressman, disagrees with the Georgia Supreme Court's decision and is in favor of amending the Georgia Constitution to re-impose the jury award limits. Deal claims, that, if put to a vote, voters "would overwhelmingly say yes because they understand the practical consequences of it."

However, Democrat candidate Roy Barnes, former governor of Georgia, agrees with the court's decision and is against an amendment to the Georgia Constitution that would re-impose the limits. Barnes notes that, "[g]enerally, the jury does the right thing. Occasionally, they get cranked up and don't. And in those cases we give judges the right to correct that." Instead, Barnes suggests "cracking down on frivolous cases" by imposing fines and awarding attorneys fees to the parties who face such lawsuits.

For now, Georgia courts are unencumbered by award limits for medical malpractice issues, so if you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of a reckless or negligent medical care provider, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to discuss your rights and options. An attorney can help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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