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Posts Tagged ‘damages’

Workers Compensation Model to Replace Georgia’s Medical Malpractice System?

Posted on: August 1st, 2012

By: Scott Rees

A recent study of 330 Georgia physicians indicated Georgia physicians are overwhelmingly in favor of proposed legislation to make such a change.  Instead of the current legal system in place, the workers compensation model would allow a patient to file a claim for review by a panel.  If the panel found “avoidable harm” had taken place, the claim would then be forwarded to a compensation board to award damages.  Those in favor of the system believe this model would allow for predictable settlements in faster time, patients know their claim would be heard, and doctors could avoid the burden of being brought to court over a frivolous claim.  The study was commissioned by Patients for Fair Compensation, and had an error rate of plus or minus 5.5%.  Patients for Fair Compensation claims to be a nonpartisan Section 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to educating and engaging citizens and policymakers on the negative impact on patient care due to defensive medicine – defined as the practice of ordering medical tests, procedures or consultations of doubtful clinical value in order to protect the prescribing physician from malpractice lawsuits.

A few interesting numbers of note taken from the study:

  • 96% of the surveyed physicians said that this system would reduce healthcare costs;
  • 95% of the surveyed physicians said they would support legislation that would provide for this model;
  • 90% of the surveyed physicians said patient care quality and safety would improve under this model;
  • 82% of the surveyed physicians said they currently practice defensive medicine; and
  • 74% of the surveyed physicians said defensive medicine impacts patient care.

Let me know your thoughts on the study and whether you feel such a change would be good for the state, physicians, and patients.

Georgia Supreme Court Expands Diminution in Value Analysis to All Property Damage Claims

Posted on: July 9th, 2012

By: Seth Kirby

For the last decade, Georgia auto insurers have been required to compensate accident victims for the inherent loss in value that a car suffers when it has been in an accident.  This loss is known as diminution in value.  Essentially, it is a recognition that a car that has been in an accident, even if it has been expertly repaired, suffers from a stigma that will affect its value on resale.  Georgia courts determined that the law requires an accident victim to be made whole, so it was not sufficient to simply pay for the repairs necessitated by an accident. 

In the context of an automobile, the logic of this rule is easy to understand.  If presented with two used cars that were identical in features, mileage and overall condition, but one had previously been in an accident while the other had not, any rational consumer would purchase the pristine car.  The only way to overcome this damage stigma, would be a reduction in price for the repaired vehicle. 

In Royal Capital Development LLC, v. Maryland Casualty Company, The Georgia Supreme Court recently announced that diminution in value must be considered in the adjustment of all property damage claims.  As a result, insurers must now conduct an analysis to determine whether any type of property damage results in a stigma to the property which would require compensation in addition to repair costs to make the property owner whole. 

Unlike automobiles, it does not appear that every property damage claim will result in additional compensation for diminution in value.  For instance, hail damage that results in the total replacement of a 20-year-old roof should be viewed as a benefit to the insured as the roof was nearing the end of its normal life.  In contrast, however, water or fire damage repairs could conceivably create a stigma that negatively impacts the value of the property.  In any event, Royal Capital presents a significant new requirement in the adjustment of property claims.