Medical Liability Reform- Pretrial Screening Panels: S.B. 214 (2005)
Created a pre-trial screening panel requiring all medical liability cases
Created a pre-trial screening panel requiring all medical liability cases go before a three person panel: a judge, an attorney & a health care practitioner of the same or similar specialty as the defendant. SB 214 does not restrict anyone’s right to a jury trial. The panel helps plaintiffs with smaller cases because panel expenses are less. SB 214 required the panel to decide negligence based on a preponderance of evidence (more likely than not), thus encouraging the dropping of non-meritorious cases or quicker settlement of meritorious cases. Only unanimous decisions by the panel are admissible in any future trial. S.B. 214 also created a legislative oversight committee that will look at data over the next few years to determine if the new panel system is working. The bill required liability insurers to report certain data to the New Hampshire Department of Insurance annually.
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