More than 60 percent of Tennesseans favor placing limits on “pain and suffering” damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, according to a public opinion poll paid for by the Tennessee Medical Association.
The TMA released the poll results Tuesday in an attempt to bolster Gov. Bill Haslam’s bill to cap jury awards and impose other new restrictions on lawsuits for injuries and deaths caused by negligence or wrongful actions.
Of the 620 Tennessee consumers surveyed, 61 percent said they favor a bill to cap jury awards for non‐economic damages, according to the TMA. For Tennesseans aged 65 and older, the support rises to 72 percent — the highest percentage among all age groups.
“This survey is a fair snapshot of adults in our state and it shows most of our citizens understand how high jury awards — or the threat of them — affect rising health care costs and their access to their doctor,” said TMA President‐elect Michael Minch of Nashville. “Despite what some of our opponents claim, older Tennesseans get the connection and want us to establish fair boundaries for these emotional awards, which have nothing to do with actual economic losses.”
Tennesseans are worried about losing their doctors if the state’s litigation climate does not improve, according to the TMA. Ninety percent said they are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about doctors in Tennessee leaving the state or closing their practices due to the high cost of malpractice or the fear of lawsuits.