Oklahoma Tort Reform Adds Cap
Side Note: Building on tort reform that began in 2009, the state of Oklahoma has moved forward again with actions that will surely further improve the climate for physicians in that state. On April 5, Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law several new med mal reform measures.
One of the most significant aspects of the new legislation was a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages. Both the Oklahoma State Medical Association and the American Medical Association were in support of the cap. We here at MyMedicalMalpracticeInsurance.com, too, were in support of the cap. As physician advocates, we support caps on non-economic damages and believe that they result in many positive effects for both physicians and patients in the states in which they have been enacted. Most relevant to us, and our physicians, is the fact that med mal insurance rates often decrease after med mal caps are put in place. We hope to see Oklahoma med mal insurance rates decrease as a result. If you would like to see a history of Oklahoma physician liability insurance rates for the past ten years, we track that information and have it available on our website for our physicians to review.
Also worth noting was the elimination of “joint and several liability.” This is the concept that a defendant could possibly be responsible for a patient’s full damages, no matter what their percentage of responsibility or “degree of fault” for the injury. While it is probably obvious, we believe that physicians should only have to pay their “fair share” of damages –damages that are proportional to their level of involvement and responsibility in the case.
These most recent changes, along with the changes put in place in 2009, make Oklahoma an appealing state to practice. Good job, Oklahoma!
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Oklahoma enacts cap on noneconomic damages
By Alicia Gallegos
Posted Apr 25, 2011
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed into law a series of tort reform measures, including a $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages in civil liability cases. The Oklahoma State Medical Assn. said the cap is a victory in its fight for comprehensive medical liability reforms.
Fallin said in a statement that the reforms will lessen burdens on medical professionals and increase access to care for patients.