Governor says liability caps are OK

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Oklahoma has a new medical liability reform law that caps non-economic damages in medical liability cases at $300,000. Gov. Brad Henry signed the tort reform bill into law Tuesday.

Providers supported the bill, though provisions of it were weaker than originally proposed. Among the key provisions, the law states that a lawsuit's venue must be where one of the defendants resides or where the offending action took place.

It also allows a defendant to be held 100% liable for an award if he or she is found to be at least 51% at fault.

In addition to clarifying the definition of a "frivolous" lawsuit, HB 2661 also allows doctors to express regret and extend condolences for poor outcomes – without admitting guilt.

The Senate's Republican floor leader is among the new law's critics, saying it does little to help providers and is not comprehensive enough. A copy of the law can be found at www.lsb.state.ok.us.