Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Blog

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Proposed Law Limits Medical Malpractice Claims for the Poor and Elderly

After their futile attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in March, Republicans in congress are proposing a new law that will impose federal limits on the amounts plaintiffs can be awarded in medical malpractice and defective drug claims. Proponents say the bill will reduce the cost of medical care in the long run while critics say it will make it harder for adults with vulnerabilities and people from under-served backgrounds to win medical malpractice lawsuits.

If you have a defective drug or medical malpractice case against a hospital, talk to a New York personal injury and malpractice lawyer soon so that you can start your case before the bill is assented, capping the non-economic damages you can receive.

What Is the Purpose of the Proposed Bill?

The bill proposes limits on some medical malpractice and defective drug lawsuits involving hospitals and nursing homes. The bill imposes caps on the awards plaintiffs receive in lawsuits for care covered by Medicaid, Medicare and other private health insurers.

Republicans claim the new bill would trim health spending by $50 billion over the next 10 years by decreasing doctors’ use of diagnostic testing to insulate themselves from potential malpractice lawsuits.  They also believe it will reduce the number of frivolous malpractice cases courts preside over.

House Democrats, on the other hand, claim the bill would take away the rights of people served by federal healthcare programs, including those injured by egregious mistakes such as leaving surgical tools inside the body. 

How the New GOP Bill Affects Medical Malpractice Cases

Here are some of the bill’s proposals:

  • A $250,000 cap on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering as a result of medical malpractice.

     Currently, there is no federal cap for noneconomic damages, though states can impose their own. Because there is no federal cap, non-economic damages can run into millions in cases of wrongful death caused by medication mix-ups or neglect in hospitals and nursing homes.

    The bill does not limit what a plaintiff can recover in terms of economic damages.

  • Doctors who prescribe a drug approved by the FDA, as well as pharmacists who fill these prescriptions, should not be put on their defense together with the drug’s manufacturer in a defective drug liability case.

  • A limit on attorney fees for representing medical malpractice suits.

  • Sanctioning of attorneys who represent plaintiffs in malpractice cases that are later adjudged frivolous. This, according to some Republican congressmen, would rebalance a justice system heavily skewed in favor of plaintiffs. 

The bill has found support in organizations such as the American Medical Association and the American Health Care Association. It has been condemned by civil rights and consumer groups for limiting the rights of vulnerable persons to claim damages from powerful institutions.

If you have been injured as a result of the negligence of a doctor, surgeon or dentist, consult, talk to New York personal injury lawyer Arthur O. Tisi now at 1-917-789-1390 for a FREE consultation to learn more about how you can obtain compensation for your injuries.

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