Drafting a bill is often difficult work for politicians. This can be especially true when dealing with an issue as complex as the American healthcare system. Determining coverage requirements and limits, addressing medication and availabilities and costs, and defining the separation between state and federal responsibilities often takes hundreds of pages.
Politicians are considering amending the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislation of Barack Obama’s presidency. Hundreds of changes have been proposed, some of which would have negligible impacts and some of which would make profound changes for thousands of Americans.
One of the proposed changes with far-reaching ramifications would limit the amount of pain and suffering damages a plaintiff could be granted in the case of a medical malpractice suit. This would impose an arbitrary cap of $250,000 on all medical malpractice cases, regardless of how devastating the malpractice was.
Clearly, not all malpractice cases are the same. Juries and judges have long been trusted to be able to sort them properly and to grant appropriate compensation to victims. Taking this power away from the legal system could compromise the ability of patients to get the justice they deserve.
Large settlements can have the effect of discouraging certain types of dangerous behaviors by doctors and other medical practitioners. By disallowing them, you could run the risk of medical professionals engaging in riskier behaviors, knowing that damages that can be awarded against them are significantly capped.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, you are well aware that putting a dollar number on pain and suffering is difficult. Each case is different, and a one-size-fits-all approach is likely to negatively impact the justice system, not improve it. Determining how to proceed with your case has always been difficult, but an experienced attorney could be even more valuable in the coming years.