Bill increases limits on claims against GovGuam

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Senator Telo Taitague (PNC file photo)

A bill has been filed which seeks fair compensation for victims of negligent acts by public employees including government health professionals.

Introduced by senators Telo Taitague, Louise Muña, Kelly Marsh (Taitano), and William Castro, Bill No. 215-35 (COR) increases the limits on claims against the government of Guam from $100,000 to $200,000 for wrongful death, and from $300,000 to $500,000 for any other tort action.

Public Law 13-116, enacted on December 24, 1975, limited claims against the government of Guam to $35,000 in an action for wrongful death, and not more than $100,000 in any other tort action.

The Government Claims Act was later repealed and re-enacted by the 17th Guam Legislature through Public Law 17-29 enacted on November 9, 1983. Public Law 17-29 increased the limits on claims against the government of Guam to $100,000 in an action for wrongful death, and $300,000 in any other tort action.

According to senator Taitague, the current liability limits haven’t been updated since Public Law 17-29 nearly 40 years ago.

“As the legislature considers the next steps forward concerning Guam’s medical malpractice mandatory arbitration law, this proposal will be introduced to ensure that adjudicated claims against the local government are resolved in consideration of rising costs,” Taitague stated.

She added: “The Government Claims Act fails to adequately recognize that the cost of health care, legal defense and court fees, and other goods and services continues to rise. Our proposal is consistent with the actions taken by former senators to properly compensate victims of negligent acts committed by public employees including health professionals.”

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