Georgia tort reform – plaintiff must sign authorization when filing medical malpractice case
SB 3, effective in all cases on 2/16/05, requires that the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case provide with the complaint a signed authorization for defense counsel to obtain all protected health information in medeical records, and to have ex parte discussions with all of the plaintiff’s (or plaintiff’s decedent’s) treating physicians.
This section may violate the federal HIPAA law, which preempts all conflicting state laws. It does not require a particular form of authorization document, does not require that the authorization be open-ended, and does not require that prior treating physicians comply with it. Therefore, it is likely that plaintiffs will formally comply with the statute by providing authorizations with short-term expiration dates, while pointing out that it is preempted by HIPAA, that physicians responding to it may be in violation of HIPAA, and that all sanctions under the federal HIPAA law may apply.
Ken Shigley represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “Super Lawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is President-Elect of the State Bar of Georgia (2011-12), a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks). He and Sally have been married since 1983, and are the proud parnts of two young adults, Anne Shigley and Ken Shigley, Jr.