WAJ Also Applauds Passage of Impartial Justice Bill
MADISON - The Wisconsin Association for Justice (WAJ) today applauded the State Senate for passing two important pieces of legislation - one ensuring everyone has the same access to justice (SB 126), and another taking campaign donations out of the equation for electing judges in Wisconsin (SB 171).
Senate Bill 126, which passed 28-5 with broad bi-partisan support, applies the same 3-year statue of limitations for cases of medical negligence against privately operated health systems to government run entities. Although privately run health systems are subject to a 3-year statute of limitations for cases of medical negligence, under current law government run health systems are subject to only a 180 day statute of limitations in the same cases.
"Wisconsin families who choose UW Clinics or Physicians Plus should not be treated differently than families who choose privately operated health systems," said WAJ President Christine Bremer Muggli. "The State Senate's vote is an important one in ensuring everyone in Wisconsin has access to justice when wronged."
The current law creates problems in many cases. It can take a long time to receive medical records, which can create problems with the short time period allowed to file a claim. Additionally, a vast majority of patients are not aware of the 180-day period for government run facilities due to the fact that no one is legally obligated to inform them of the length of the statute of limitations.
"The current law creates a dangerous maze for the unwary," said Bremer Muggli. "Injured patients shouldn't be penalized for failure to navigate through this maze in an extremely short period of time. Wisconsin families should be afforded fair and equal protection under the law, regardless of which hospital they use."
The State Senate also voted to pass Senate Bill 171, the Impartial Justice Bill, on a 23-10 vote. This bill creates an important structure that takes campaign donations out of the equation for electing judges in Wisconsin.
"Having a fair, neutral, impartial, non-partisan judiciary is critical to the long-term reliability of the justice system," said Bremer Muggli. "Citizens should be able to put their faith in our system of justice, and while the current system provides some checks, it should be changed to remove any question or doubt about judges' impartiality."
WAJ also strongly favors measures to blunt the effects of independent spending on judicial races.