2013 Montana Legislature
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SENATE BILL NO. 184
INTRODUCED BY B. TUTVEDT
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT REVISING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWS TO REQUIRE THAT ECONOMIC CONSUMPTION BE DEDUCTED FROM AN AWARD OF DAMAGES IN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACTION; AND PROVIDING AN APPLICABILITY DATE."
WHEREAS, in a wrongful death action brought by a person's spouse or heirs under Montana law, a jury awarding damages deducts from the award all of the normal, daily expenses that a person would have consumed during the person's lifetime; and
WHEREAS, in a survivor action brought by a person's estate under Montana law, these economic consumption expenses are not deducted from the award, thereby creating an inconsistent system of damages; and
WHEREAS, the purpose of a damage award is to put the person in the same position the person would have been in but for the occurrence, and without the occurrence, the person would have consumed part of the person's earnings; and
WHEREAS, the lack of a provision requiring the deduction of economic consumption expenses from damage awards in survivor actions is a factor in increasing medical malpractice insurance premium rates, and these high premiums have historically forced providers in Montana to consider curtailing certain medical services or to relocate to states where premiums are stabilized; and
WHEREAS, Montana and its residents have a compelling state interest in ensuring that Montana residents receive quality health care at a reasonable price; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature has determined that the health, welfare, and safety of Montanans would be threatened by a shortage of health care providers and declares that it is the policy of the State of Montana to attract and retain qualified health care providers to care for the residents of Montana and that economic consumption expenses must be deducted from damage awards in survivor actions.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
NEW SECTION. Section 1. Economic consumption to be deducted from award. If damages are awarded for a malpractice claim, as defined in 25-9-411, for a deceased party's lost future earnings, the deceased party's economic consumption must be deducted from the award. Economic consumption is the part of the projected earnings that the deceased party would have spent on basic necessities and personal expenditures throughout the party's lifetime but does not include expenses necessary to care for dependents of the deceased party.
NEW SECTION. Section 2. Codification instruction. [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 25, chapter 9, part 4, and the provisions of Title 25, chapter 9, part 4, apply to [section 1].
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Applicability. [This act] applies to civil actions filed on or after [the effective date of this act].
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