Washington state tort reform law incorporates apology clause

May 1, 2006

After 4 years of negotiations with trial lawyers and physicians,Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire has brokered a liability tortreform package acceptable to both parties.

After 4 years of negotiations with trial lawyers and physicians, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire has brokered a liability tort reform package acceptable to both parties. The compromise measure, which was signed into law in March, prevents plaintiffs from using physicians' statements of apology against them in court and requires lawyers to file a certificate of merit in medical liability cases. In addition, if a case goes to arbitration, there is a $1 million cap on noneconomic damages. The Washington State Medical Association supported the changes and helped draft the bill, according to American Medical News (3/20/06).