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Connecticut Mandates Mediation In Medical Malpractice Cases

From the Disputing Blog of Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes.

U.S. Politics Today reported that in Connecticut, “as of July 1, the presiding judge over a medical malpractice case must refer the case to a 120-day mediation period or other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process ‘before the close of proceedings.’”

The stated purpose of the new statute which mandates mediation in medical malpractice cases is to achieve a “prompt settlement or resolution of the civil action.” The hope is that cases with very clear liability issues or those that are not meritorious to begin with can be settled before incurring the expenses of a trial.

While there are some critics of the new law, it appears there is consensus that it will not resolve “big-ticket” malpractice cases. The new law may help avoid protracted litigation during the resolution of smaller cases, however.

In August, we reported on an American Medical Association (AMA) survey of 5,825 physicians about medical liability lawsuits that said:

The majority of lawsuits never made it to the courtroom, according to 2008 data from the Physician Insurers Assn. of America (PIAA), a trade group representing liability insurance companies owned or operated by physicians, hospitals and other health care professionals.

Sixty-five percent were dropped, dismissed or withdrawn. About one in four claims was settled, and 4.5% were decided by alternative dispute mechanism. Of the 5% that went to trial, defendants won in 90% of cases, the PIAA said.

But fighting a claim is costly. Defense against a claim averaged $22,163 for suits dropped, dismissed or withdrawn, and more than $100,000 for cases that went to trial, according to PIAA data.

Let us hear from you about mandating mediation in medical liability cases.

                        author

Holly Hayes

Holly Hayes Bovio received a Masters in Health Administration (MHA) from Duke University and her undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University. She holds a certificate in mediation from Texas State.  Holly brings a strong hospital operations background to healthcare mediations including a focus on clinical quality.  Holly managed her own consulting… MORE >

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