Overturning the veto of Democratic Governor John Lynch, the New Hampshire legislature has enacted a significant reform of medical malpractice, one that can serve as a model for other states.
You can find the details at the Cato @ Liberty website of the Cato Institute, by my friend Walter Olson. Briefly, it gives plaintiffs in medical malpractice claims incentives to solicit an early offer of settlement on economic losses from the defendant. If the plaintiff accepts the offer, pain and suffering compensation would also be paid by the defendant, according to a scheduled assessment as well as “reasonable attorney’s fees.” If the plaintiff turns down the offer, however, and fails to get at least 125 percent of the original offer from a jury award, then he would have to pay the defendant’s reasonable legal fees and expenses.
Under this new procedure, the plaintiff gets his case settled, and his compensation, quickly. He is made whole and gets on with his life. The defendant also has an incentive to settle quickly to avoid huge attorney’s fees of his own and the threat of an off-the-wall jury award.