Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Governor's Bill No. 6383

January Session, 2009

 

LCO No. 2951

 

*02951__________*

Referred to Committee on Judiciary

 

Introduced by:

 

REP. CAFERO, 142nd Dist.

SEN. MCKINNEY, 28th Dist.

 

AN ACT CONCERNING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 52-572h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2009, and applicable to actions filed on or after said date):

(a) For the purposes of this section: (1) "Economic damages" means compensation determined by the trier of fact for pecuniary losses including, but not limited to, the cost of reasonable and necessary medical care, rehabilitative services, custodial care and loss of earnings or earning capacity excluding any noneconomic damages; (2) "noneconomic damages" means compensation determined by the trier of fact for all nonpecuniary losses including, but not limited to, physical pain and suffering and mental and emotional suffering; (3) "recoverable economic damages" means the economic damages reduced by any applicable findings including but not limited to set-offs, credits, comparative negligence, additur and remittitur, and any reduction provided by section 52-225a; (4) "recoverable noneconomic damages" means the noneconomic damages reduced by any applicable findings including but not limited to set-offs, credits, comparative negligence, additur and remittitur; (5) "health care institution" means a health care institution licensed pursuant to chapter 368v; and (6) "health care provider" means an individual provider of health care licensed pursuant to chapters 370 to 373, inclusive, 375 to 383c, inclusive, or chapter 400j.

Sec. 2. Section 52-572h of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (p) as follows (Effective October 1, 2009, and applicable to actions filed on or after said date):

(NEW) (p) In any action filed on or after October 1, 2009, to recover damages resulting from personal injury or wrongful death, whether in tort or in contract, in which it is alleged that such injury or death resulted from the professional negligence of a health care provider or health care institution in the medical diagnosis, care or treatment of the claimant, the amount of recoverable noneconomic damages shall not exceed seven hundred fifty thousand dollars with respect to such injury or death.

Sec. 3. Section 52-225d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2009, and applicable to actions filed on or after said date):

(a) In any civil action wherein the claimant seeks to recover damages resulting from personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property occurring on or after October 1, 1987, and wherein liability is admitted or determined by the trier of fact, the court shall proceed to enter judgment as follows: (1) The trier of fact shall make separate findings for each claimant specifying the amount of any economic damages and noneconomic damages, as defined in subsection (a) of section 52-572h. (2) The court shall take into account any applicable findings made by the court or jury and shall specify for each claimant the amount of recoverable economic damages and recoverable noneconomic damages, as defined in subsection (a) of section 52-572h. (3) [The] Except as provided in subdivision (4) of this subsection, the court shall enter judgment in a lump sum for all such recoverable economic damages and recoverable noneconomic damages up to an aggregate of two hundred thousand dollars. If the amount of such damages remaining is in excess of two hundred thousand dollars, the court shall provide the parties sixty days to negotiate and consent to an agreement to be incorporated into an amended judgment to provide for the payment of all such damages remaining in excess of two hundred thousand dollars in a lump sum or in periodic installment payments or in any combination thereof without regard to the provisions of this section. (4) In a civil action brought to recover damages resulting from personal injury or wrongful death occurring on or after the effective date of this section, whether in tort or in contract, resulting from the negligence of a health care provider in the medical diagnosis, care or treatment of any person, if the parties do not consent to an agreement pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection, the court shall enter judgment for the payment in periodic installment payments of all recoverable noneconomic damages over at least a three-year period if the award equals or exceeds two hundred thousand dollars, provided no individual annual payment may exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars.

(b) (1) If the parties agree on the terms of payment pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section, with respect to recoverable economic damages and recoverable noneconomic damages in excess of two hundred thousand dollars, the court shall, subject to a determination by the court that the terms of subsection [(e)] (f) of this section have been satisfied, enter an amended judgment incorporating such agreement of the parties into the amended judgment. (2) If the parties fail to agree on the terms of payment pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section, with respect to the payment of damages in excess of two hundred thousand dollars, the court shall enter an amended judgment to provide for the payment of such damages in a lump sum.

(c) If a judgment or amended judgment for periodic installment payments is entered pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this section, the court shall consider evidence submitted by either party as to the terms and conditions of such periodic installment payments and shall order such payments on terms the court deems just and equitable to both parties in accordance with generally accepted actuarial practices.

[(c) If an] (d) If a judgment or amended judgment for periodic installment payments is entered pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this section, that portion of the contingency fee or any other payment arranged between the claimant and the attorney for professional services relating to recoverable economic damages and recoverable noneconomic damages subject to periodic installment payments as required under such judgment or amended judgment shall be payable in periodic installment payments in accordance with an order to be entered by the court simultaneously with but separate and apart from the judgment or amended judgment, unless prior to the entry of that order the claimant and such attorney have otherwise agreed and so informed the court.

[(d)] (e) The time within which any party aggrieved by a judgment or amended judgment of the court made under this section may appeal shall run from the issuance of notice of the rendition of the later-filed of the judgment or amended judgment prescribed by subsection (a) of this section or the amended judgment prescribed by subsection (b) of this section.

[(e)] (f) The court shall require any party liable for the payment of damages in periodic installment payments to demonstrate to the court its ability to make such periodic installment payments and, if appropriate, at the discretion of the court, require such party to post and maintain security adequate to assure full payment of such party's portion of the unpaid damages.

[(f)] (g) If the court enters a judgment or amended judgment for periodic installment payments pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this section and a claimant dies before the end of the period during which such periodic installment payments are to be made, the obligation of the defendant or defendants to make such periodic installment payments shall not cease until the remaining financial obligation of the defendant or defendants has, in accordance with an order of a court having jurisdiction in the matter, been paid into the estate of the claimant in periodic installment payments or distributed to the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the estate as such court may direct and such distribution shall be binding as to any party making periodic installment payments [hereunder] pursuant to this section.

[(g)] (h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right of a claimant, defendant or defendants and insurers to settle claims as they consider appropriate and in their complete discretion at any time.

[(h)] (i) Following the fulfillment of all obligations specified in the judgment or amended judgment for periodic installment payments, any obligation of the defendant or any other person to make further payments pursuant to this section shall cease.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2009, and applicable to actions filed on or after said date

52-572h(a)

Sec. 2

October 1, 2009, and applicable to actions filed on or after said date

52-572h

Sec. 3

October 1, 2009, and applicable to actions filed on or after said date

52-225d

Statement of Purpose:

To implement the Governor's budget recommendations and (1) establish a seven-hundred-fifty-thousand-dollar cap on noneconomic damage awards in medical malpractice cases, and (2) provide for periodic payment of noneconomic damage awards that exceed two hundred thousand dollars.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]