2020 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 13 - Recovery in Medical Malpractice Actions
§ 51-13-1. Definitions; Maximum Liability; Allowance for Periodic Payments

Universal Citation: GA Code § 51-13-1 (2020)
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Claimant" means a person, including a decedent's estate, who seeks or has sought recovery of damages in a medical malpractice action. All persons claiming to have sustained damages as the result of the bodily injury or death of a single person are considered a single claimant.
    2. "Health care provider" means any person licensed under Chapter 9, 10A, 11, 11A, 26, 28, 30, 33, 34, 35, 39, or 44 of Title 43. The term shall also include any corporation, professional corporation, partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, authority, or other entity comprised of such health care providers.
    3. "Medical facility" means any institution or medical facility licensed under Chapter 7 of Title 31 or any combination thereof under common ownership, operation, or control.
    4. "Noneconomic damages" means damages for physical and emotional pain, discomfort, anxiety, hardship, distress, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium, injury to reputation, and all other nonpecuniary losses of any kind or nature. This term does not include past or future:
      1. Medical expenses, including rehabilitation and therapy;
      2. Wages or earnings capacity;
      3. Income;
      4. Funeral and burial expenses;
      5. The value of services performed by the injured in the absence of the injury or death including those domestic and other necessary services performed without compensation; or
      6. Other monetary expenses.
  2. In any verdict returned or judgment entered in a medical malpractice action, including an action for wrongful death, against one or more health care providers, the total amount recoverable by a claimant for noneconomic damages in such action shall be limited to an amount not to exceed $350,000.00, regardless of the number of defendant health care providers against whom the claim is asserted or the number of separate causes of action on which the claim is based.
  3. In any verdict returned or judgment entered in a medical malpractice action, including an action for wrongful death, against a single medical facility, inclusive of all persons and entities for which vicarious liability theories may apply, the total amount recoverable by a claimant for noneconomic damages in such action shall be limited to an amount not to exceed $350,000.00, regardless of the number of separate causes of action on which the claim is based.
  4. In any verdict returned or judgment entered in a medical malpractice action, including an action for wrongful death, against more than one medical facility, inclusive of all persons and entities for which vicarious liability theories may apply, the total amount recoverable by a claimant for noneconomic damages in such action shall be limited to an amount not to exceed $350,000.00 from any single medical facility and $700,000.00 from all medical facilities, regardless of the number of defendant medical facilities against whom the claim is asserted or the number of separate causes of action on which the claim is based.
  5. In applying subsections (b), (c), and (d) of this Code section, the aggregate amount of noneconomic damages recoverable under such subsections shall in no event exceed $1,050,000.00.
  6. In any medical malpractice action, if an award of future damages equaling or exceeding $350,000.00 is made against any party in the action, the trial court shall, upon the request of any party, issue an order providing that such damages be paid by periodic payments. Such periodic payments shall be funded through an annuity policy with the premium for such annuity equal to the amount of the award for future damages.

(Code 1981, §51-13-1, enacted by Ga. L. 2005, p. 1, § 13/SB 3.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2005 p. 1, § 14/SB 3, not codified by the General Assembly, provides for severability.

Law reviews.

- For article on 2005 enactment of this Code section, see 22 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 221 (2005). For annual survey of trial practice and procedure, see 57 Mercer L. Rev. 381 (2005). For article, "Of Frivolous Litigation and Runaway Juries: A View from the Bench," see 41 Ga. L. Rev. 431 (2007). For annual survey of law on torts, see 62 Mercer L. Rev. 317 (2010). For annual survey of law on trial practice and procedure, see 62 Mercer L. Rev. 339 (2010). For article, "Caps Off to Juries: Noneconomic Damage Caps in Medical Malpractice Cases Ruled Unconstitutional," see 62 Mercer L. Rev. 1315 (2011). For article, "Calculating Economic Damages in Georgia Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases," see 22 Ga. St. Bar. J. 18 (Feb. 2017). For comment, "Where Do We Go From Here? The Future of Caps on Noneconomic Medical Malpractice Damages in Georgia," see 28 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 1341 (2012).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Constitutionality.

- Statutory limitation of awards of noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases to a predetermined amount was unconstitutional because it violated the right to a jury trial guaranteed by Ga. Const. 1983, Art. 1, Sec. 1, Para. 11(a), and the statute was wholly void and of no force and effect from the date of the statute's enactment. Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, P.C. v. Nestlehutt, 286 Ga. 731, 691 S.E.2d 218 (2010).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR.

- Medical malpractice in diagnosis and treatment of cancer of male reproductive system, 96 A.L.R.6th 503.

Medical malpractice in diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer, 95 A.L.R.6th 541.

Medical malpractice in diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, 94 A.L.R.6th 431.

Medical malpractice in diagnosis and treatment of cancer of female reproductive system, 93 A.L.R.6th 123.

Medical malpractice in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, 92 A.L.R.6th 379.

CHAPTER 14 ASBESTOS AND SILICA CLAIMS

Sec.

  • 51-14-1. Legislative findings and purpose.
  • 51-14-2. Applicability.
  • 51-14-3. Definitions.
  • 51-14-4. Prima-facie evidence of physical impairment a prerequisite of asbestos or silica claims.
  • 51-14-5. When limitations period begins to run.
  • 51-14-6. Dismissal for failure to establish prima-facie evidence of physical impairment with respect to an asbestos claim or silica claim; procedure; evidentiary requirements.
  • 51-14-7. Sworn information form providing required information; failure to state a claim; class actions barred.
  • 51-14-8. Limitations on discovery; satisfaction of medical criteria necessary to establish prima-facie evidence of medical impairment; admissibility of expert reports.
  • 51-14-9. Who may bring a claim; claims in multiple jurisdictions.
  • 51-14-10. Venue.
  • 51-14-11. Consolidation of claims.
  • 51-14-12. Application of chapter dependent upon date claim accrues.
  • 51-14-13. Severability.
Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2007, p. 4, § 1/SB 182, effective May 1, 2007, repealed the Code sections at this chapter and enacted the current chapter. The former chapter consisted of Code Sections 51-14-1 through 51-14-10, relating to asbestos claims and silica claims, and was based on Ga. L. 2005, p. 145, § 1/HB 416 and Ga. L. 2006, p. 72, § 51/SB 465.

Ga. L. 2007, p. 4, § 3/SB 182, not codified by the General Assembly, provides for additional severability.

Ga. L. 2007, p. 4, § 4/SB 182, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that this chapter shall apply to certain accrued or future accruing asbestos claims or silica claims in which trial has not commenced as of May 1, 2007, in accordance with its terms.

Law reviews.

- For note, "Dust in the Wind: Revisiting Georgia's Refusal to Extend Liability to Employers in Take-Home Asbestos Litigation," see 53 Ga. L. Rev. 1169 (2019).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Asbestosis, 45 POF2d 1.

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