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Recent Reforms Enacted (since 2003) In 2010, the non-economic damage cap was lowered to a hard cap of $450,000. It had been higher due to previous annual inflation adjustments to a soft $400,000 cap.  An affidavit of merit requirement was also implemented for cases in which a pre-trial screening panel finds a case lacks merit. SB 79 was enacted in 2009 raising the standard of evidence required to prove negligence in emergency care cases from a preponderence of the evidence to clear and convincing evidence.  This law will sunset in 2013.
Emergency Care Provision Clear and convincing evidence required to prevail in emergency care cases.
Reform Elements In Law

$450K Cap
Joint Liability
Collateral Source
Attorney Fee Limit
Periodic Payments
Emergency Care
Pre-Trial Screening Panel
Affidavit of Merit

Constitutional Status of Reforms State Supreme Court upheld the state’s $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages (2004)
Change in Insurance Rates AMA reports at least one insurer raised rates as much as 0 to 25% in 2004.
Insurance Availability Information not available.
Change in Physician Availability Information not available.
Change in Cases Filed/Awards 91 paid claims in 2003 or 18.1 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians. US avg. was 18.8 per 1000. 98 paid claims in 2005 or 19.1 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians. US avg. was 17.1 per 1000. (Kaiser) 76 total number of paid claims for 2006 or 12.3 per 1,000 active, non-federal physicians. 67 paid claims in 2007.
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