What are the special medical malpractice statutes?
Local statutes must be consulted for restrictions that apply to actions against health care providers. Many states have enacted special medical malpractice statutes as a response to what some contend is another “medical malpractice crisis,” said to have been brought about by an increase in the number of medical malpractice actions, substantial jury awards, and a resulting increase in liability insurance rates for health care providers. The requirements of these statutes must be satisfied before a medical malpractice plaintiff can get his or her claim before a jury.
There are several types of statutes. Some require arbitration; most create a special panel to screen claims (a few combine both to form a hybrid arbitration panel), and some place a limit on the amount the patient may recover. There are also numerous miscellaneous provisions.
In some states, it is necessary to study court rules as well as the statutes that have been enacted, and in others the special law applying to medical malpractice cases is a procedural rule without an accompanying statute.