Civil justice system reform, a top priority of Republican leaders this legislative session, became the first bill signed into law Wednesday during a spirited ceremony at Atanta’s Northside Hospital. “This is a great bill for Georgia,” Gov. Sonny Perdue said, with hundreds of cheering doctors, nurses and business lobbyists looking on. “This is about access to health care.”
The law caps at $350,000 the maximum award for a victim’s pain and suffering in medical malpractice civil lawsuits, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The health care industry contends caps are needed to hold down skyrocketing malpractice insurance premiums, while trial lawyers and consumer advocates say they will deny victims justice in the courts. Georgia joined more than two dozen other states that have imposed limits on pain-and-suffering awards.