OK enacts major tort reforms

The state of Oklahoma has enacted a package of tort reform laws that includes several new protections for physicians. The new legislation places a $400,000 cap on non-economic damages in most cases, other than gross negligence or permanent disfigurement.

Other provisions require an expert opinion or certificate of merit when plaintiffs file a liability case, unless the plaintiff is indigent; ensure that defendants are only required to answer for their portion of fault; and strengthen the definition of what a "frivolous lawsuit" is.

The new measures, which will take effect effect November 1, will include the creation of a compensation fund to cover jury awards in excess of the cap. Doctors are a bit wary about this, as they're afraid they'll be taxed unduly to subsidize the fund, but otherwise happy with the new reforms.

To learn more about these changes:
- read this American Medical News piece

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