Under an agreement on medical-malpractice laws in Washington State, which expected to be enacted into law, doctors would be able to apologize for a medical mistake without it being used against them in court. Mediation would be mandatory before a lawsuit could proceed, and if it went forward, both sides could agree to binding arbitration to avoid costly litigation. Juries also would be able to hear for the first time if a patient suing a doctor has previously received money for the claim from an insurance company. Still to be decided, however, is the doctors’ demand for limits on the amount of damages a jury could award in a malpractice case. If history is any judge, their efforts to limit damages for malpractice will continue.
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