ALBANY, GA (WALB) – In a unanimous vote, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that setting caps on malpractice awards is unconstitutional.
In 2005, state lawmakers set a $350,000 limit on jury awards for malpractice victims' pain and suffering. The Supreme Court ruled the law violates the right to a trial by jury.
Doctors and hospital leaders worry the ruling could reverse a trend of declining malpractice premiums in Georgia and make it more difficult to recruit doctors.
"The ability to recruit not only specialists, but even primary care physicians of this community to anywhere in the state of Georgia. I think we just took a giant step backwards," said Phoebe Putney's VP of Medical Affairs, Dr. Doug Patten.
Monday's ruling also overturns tougher standards that were put in place for expert witnesses in malpractice trials.