One thing that many large corporations and insurance companies can’t stand is that ordinary citizens in Georgia and across the United States have the right to trial by jury in civil cases. This sacred right runs against the mindset of those who believe that only large companies and the wealthy should get to make the rules. Whether it’s environmental contamination, medical negligence, unsafe trucks on the road or defective products, many companies would rather blame their victims for the harm they cause instead of acting more safely. Juries scare these companies because juries can make them act more safely and hold them responsible when they don’t.
These special interests are always on the prowl, looking for ways to take away our rights, often by passing laws that close the courthouse doors to us. But the problem is that these companies can’t just come out openly and say “we want to enact laws that take away your right to trial by jury and that deny you the right to hold us accountable when we harm you, harm your families, harm your neighbors or damage your property.” They know everyone would reject such obvious attempts at one-sided legislation.
Instead, these corporations and their allies in the PR business are much slicker than that – they come up with really nice-sounding names for their proposed laws so we won’t seek the rotten core of what lurks beneath the surface. One such recent attempt in Georgia is by an outfit calling itself the “Patients for Fair Compensation” and they are trying to get the Georgia legislature to adopt a law – called the Patient Injury Act – that takes away our right to trial by jury in cases where Georgia citizens are injured by the actions of corporate hospitals and healthcare providers. As Georgia Watch reports, this group is actually led by healthcare industry executives who are seeking to shut the courthouse doors for the oldest of reasons – they don’t want to be responsible to us for the terrible harms that can be caused by medical negligence.
Ordinary citizens who cause a wreck on the road or otherwise harm someone can be held accountable by a fair jury of 12 citizens in Georgia. Why should these healthcare corporations and other monied special interests get special privileges that the rest of us don’t have? There is no reasonable excuse for this type of law that takes away our Constitutional rights, and we should let our Georgia lawmakers know we won’t accept it. Please take a minute to call your Georgia state legislator and let them know that you don’t approve of Senate Bill 141. And if they vote for it, let’s hold them responsible at the ballot box.