Published on:

Medical malpractice damages caps still cause concern

Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers hear a lot of talk about the “need” for medical malpractice lawsuit damages caps, which we consider as an absolute detriment to justice. We were happy to see an article revealing the real effects of medical malpractice damages caps. One medical malpractice lawyer recalled an interesting case that he was handling in a state with medical malpractice damages cap. The defendant doctor in the medical malpractice lawsuit had removed a boy’s colon instead of his spleen. The boy had a genetic disorder that was causing his spleen to limit his body’s red blood cell production. After his colon was mistakenly removed, surgeons had to attach the medical malpractice victim’s large intestine to his rectal stub. The surgeon who made the medical mistake was actually never sued. They never saw a courtroom. The surgeon was never given the opportunity to defend himself or herself and the victim was never able to see a courtroom. Instead, an insurance company simply handed the family of the victim $500,000. That is the maximum the family would have been able to receive if it went to court, given the state’s cap on non-economic damage awards in medical malpractice lawsuits.

As aptly described by the boy’s medical malpractice lawyer, the law limiting medical malpractice damages has succeeded only in giving bad doctors slaps on the wrists for committing malpractice, while also increasing insurance company profits by limiting their damage awards to victims of those same bad doctors. Proponents, as we are aware, allege that the law drastically reduces medical malpractice insurance premiums for doctors. According to a 2010 insurance commissioner report, the state averages 273 medical malpractice claims per year, down a mere 7 from 280 in 2008.

There was recent confusion as to the President’s stance on tort reform because an article suggested that the President was open to caps on damages. Fortunately, the President’s spokesman noted how the President does not support caps on medical malpractice awards, since they can be unfair to people who have been wrongfully harmed.

Read more about the medical malpractice lawsuit damages cap at the Charleston Gazette.