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Georgia Trial Lawyers Association Comments on Medical Malpractice in Georgia

Over the weekend the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA) Blog published a comment on medical malpractice in Georgia. Apparently the CEO of a medical services company in Georgia recently wrote an opinion piece in a Georgia newspaper which suggested that victims of medical malpractice in Georgia should have to get permission for a jury trial from a “screening panel.” Who would make up this screening panel? Members of the medical and insurance industries. Does that sound like justice? It smells like something else to me. As the blog post points out, such a screening panel would only create another hoop through which victims must jump to get justice. And this hoop would only benefit the medical and insurance industries.

“The fact is all medical malpractice cases brought in Georgia have already been through multiple screening hoops,” writes the GTLA. “The first hoop is that you have to have had something very bad happen as a result of malpractice. Your next hoop is that you have to find a lawyer willing and able to take your case. That lawyer will tell you that there is another, special hoop that protects only professionals charged with negligence. In order to pass through that hoop, the patient must find a medical professional willing to publicly criticize their colleague and sign a document swearing that malpractice happened. So far your case has been screened three times: Something bad happens. You find a lawyer who will invest in helping you find justice. And, you find another doctor who agrees that there was malpractice and is willing to say so. Then there’s a fourth screening before you can have a jury hear your case: the judge must screen the case, too.

“Our Founding Fathers created the world’s best independent screening panels when they imbedded the right to a trial by jury in our Constitution. You are entitled to a jury of your peers, not a two step process, the first of which is a trial by jury of the defendant’s colleagues. We trust the people of our communities to fairly resolve our disputes when we are unable to resolve them ourselves.

“The CEO cites an approach tried in Maine as being the right fit for us here in Georgia. He fails to mention that this approach is regularly criticized by the Supreme Court of Maine as being inadequate and harmful to the people of Maine. He cites, as a reason for needing “screening panels,” a Georgia case involving a plastic surgeon who carelessly destroyed the blood supply to a woman’s face and left her horribly disfigured. He suggests that this woman – who was horribly injured through no fault of her own and who successfully navigated all of the legal hurdles to hold the wrongdoer accountable for herself and other patients – has not done enough. He says she needs to clear yet another hurdle to prove herself worthy of a jury trial. The suggestion is outrageous and it serves no purpose but to deny those who have been harmed their fair measure of justice.

“Why should patients who have been harmed by medical malpractice have to go through two trials when everyone else only has to go through one? Why should medical professionals get special treatment? It’s a question with an obvious answer: They shouldn’t.”

Medical malpractice is a hotly debated issue around the country. Unfortunately, medical malpractice cases can be extremely difficult to win because of the fact that the medical and insurance industries have such vast resources. However, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer will know how to secure the evidence necessary for win.

If you have been injured by medical malpractice, contact an experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. You’ll need an experienced attorney on your side if you decide to pursue a medical negligence lawsuit. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss your legal rights as an injury victim.