In 2005, doctors lobbied hard to change the law so that any medical malpractice lawsuit now needs to be heard before a screening panel before having a trial in court. These panels are made up of a doctor, lawyer and retired judge.
Some argued that the goal of the law was to have a “quick and easy” method for resolving medical injury cases. However, the result of the new law has been to increase the cost of cases for victims of malpractice. Because the insurance companies for the doctors or other medical professionals spend so much time and money fighting the cases before the screening panels, it forces the victim’s side to spend more time and money as well. Now, the victim’s lawyer has to prepare the case twice – once to the panel and the second time to a jury.
The result of the law means that some malpractice cases may not be brought because it becomes too expensive to prepare a case for both the screening panel and a trial. This situation only hurts victims of medical injury – not the insurance companies.