Politics
5:00 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Bills would tighten tort reform in Michigan

There's a bipartisan fight growing in the state legislature over Michigan's medical malpractice laws. 

In 1995, tort reform in Michigan made it more difficult to file a medical malpractice suit and get a jury trial. The law also put limits on monetary settlements.

Now a package of Republican-led Senate bills would further limit medical malpractice cases. Among other things, they would require proof that a physician's mistake was intentional.

The medical and insurance industries support the measures.

But House Democrats have their own bills to counter the GOP effort. Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, says tort reform is already too aggressive in Michigan.
 
"We're so concerned about frivolous lawsuits that have been so well advertised that we're willing to take away the rights of very real injured families and children and adults in the state of Michigan," Irwin says.

Irwin says the Senate bills would shield doctors from liability, as long as they say they tried their best.

But supporters say the reform would protect doctors from frivolous lawsuits and help contain rising medical costs.