Interesting Medical Malpractice Bill In Michigan Could Have Ramifications In Other States, Like New York


In Michigan, legislators planned to enact a series of medical malpractice bills that would make it harder for victims of medical malpractice to recover damages. These bills were meant to address the inequities in liability statutes and curb a physician shortage. The belief may have been that the number of medical malpractice claims may discourage people from entering the practice medicine. These bills were intended to expand the immunity on medical professionals as well as limit damages plaintiffs would have been able to receive.

One of the four bills would have exempted medical professionals from liability provided that they acted with “reasonable good faith” based on medical practices and the best interest of the patient. This would have provided physicians with greater immunity from medical malpractice claims. Another bill would place limits on the damages issued for loss of economic value of household services such as cooking and cleaning. A third bill would expand the types of health care professionals who can be sued for medical malpractice. The last of the bills would limit the time frame for being able to sue on behalf of a deceased person.

The Senate committee recently killed the portion of bill that was strongly opposed to by personal injury lawyers. This bill would have given health care professionals or health care facilities greater immunity provided the doctor acted with reasonable care and a good faith belief that the conduct used was well-founded in medicine and that it was in the patient’s best interests. Personal injury lawyers believed that this bill would have given bad doctors immunity from wrong doing. The other three bills passed the committee and have been passed by the Senate. Had the most controversial of the four bills remained it is unlikely that it would have passed the Senate and will now go to the House.

With the three remaining bills it is believed that doctors will be empowered to do what is best for patients rather than worrying about medical malpractice suits. Some victims may not be able to sue for medical malpractice should the new statute of limitations pass, especially if the victim has a latent injury. The other new statutes would benefit victims though, expanding who can be sued for medical malpractice and the types of damages that can be awarded.

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