On December 3, 2018, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Dr. Ricardo Rosselló, signed into law a significant amendment to the Puerto Rico Insurance Code regarding medical malpractice cases. The new law authorizes judges presiding over medical malpractice cases to appoint a three-member panel that will render a preliminary opinion on whether the medical malpractice claim is frivolous. The panel will be composed of an attorney or former judge, a health professional, and a public interest member. If the panel finds that the claim is frivolous, it will recommend to the court the imposition of a bond for the plaintiff to continue with the case. If the case is dismissed, the bond will cover the defendant’s costs and attorney’s fees. A previous attempt to create medical malpractice panels was declared unconstitutional. Velez Ruiz v. E.L.A., 111 D.P.R. 752 (1981) (compulsory binding arbitration panel for medical malpractice cases is unconstitutional).
Jiménez, Graffam and Lausell has been closely involved in medical malpractice litigation and Health Law practice for over 25 years. We will keep our clients and friends updated on this development that is expected to generate more news, litigation and reactions from both sides of the medical malpractice controversy.