New Oklahoma Medical Malpractice Law

Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry signed into law a medical malpractice tort reform law in Oklahoma. Called the “Affordable Access to Health Care Act” (“Let’s Stop Victims from Getting Fair Compensation” was already taken), the law requires a certificate of merit by a medical expert before a nursing home or medical malpractice lawyer in Oklahoma can file a claim.

As I’ve written before, I’m fine with this new Oklahoma rule. I’m also okay—I guess—with the rule that attorney fees are no longer awarded to plaintiffs in nursing home liability lawsuits (although that rule seemed fair). My problem with this bill is that it puts a $300,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases involving birth injuries and emergency care. In other words, they are putting a cap on what are usually the most serious medical malpractice cases where the victims have suffered the most. Bad law, but it received large support in Oklahoma City.

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