The new federal Congress in Washington is now considering passage of a bill that would limit the right of injured victims in health-related cases to get more than $250,000 in non-economic damages. Any newborn whose life is tragically altered because a birth doctor’s negligence caused the newborn to have cerebral palsy, or any person who is paralyzed for life because of medical error, will only be allowed at most a quarter million dollars for a life-time of suffering. If a doctor fails to diagnose cancer, thus preventing early detection that could have saved the patient’s life, the most the cancer victim can ever get is $250,000.
Economic and non-economic damages
Economic damages are the medical costs to pay for hospital surgeries, doctor visits, and medications necessitated by medical errors. Economic damages can also include the amount of income a victim loses because of the doctor’s or hospital’s negligence.
Non-economic damage compensates a patient for severely altering his or her quality of life through error or negligence. It includes:
- The daily physical bodily pains and aches that can be excruciating for some victims.
- The loss of life’s pleasures, such as being able to teach a child, go to a baseball game with that child, or even walking a daughter down the aisle for her wedding.
- The emotional anxiety of worrying about one’s health and how a person will need to rely on others for assistance.
- Depression, anxiety, and fear that often accompany catastrophic and serious injuries.
Lack of accountability
The dangers this new law proposes go beyond the rights of those who place their lives in the hands of doctors, hospitals, and nurses only to see their lives cut short or made worse. Fundamentally, economic damage awards are the only way to police bad doctors and poor hospitals.
It is the possibility and the reality of large damage awards—that our Ohio and Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys are adept at obtaining—that make hospitals take the necessary steps to:
- Train their doctors and medical staff
- Make sure they have the best medical equipment
- Comply with federal, state, and local guidelines
- Meet the demands of federal and state medical associations
Medical malpractice law holds doctors accountable to:
- Stay current with the latest medical techniques
- Run through the full check-list of necessary and likely issues that may arise during surgery
- Get the right diagnosis
- Prepare properly for surgery
- Prescribe the correct treatment
$250,000 is simply not a sufficient deterrent. Most doctors and hospitals pay for insurance. While the premiums are high, they are supposed to be for a reason—to make sure mistakes don’t happen. Insurance companies have penalized doctors for making mistakes by demanding much higher premiums if mistakes are made or denying coverage altogether if it is clear the health care provider has a history of negligence.
At Crandall & Pera Law, we have seen how medical malpractice ruins lives. We believe limiting economic awards harms people who need the most help. We assert that a full jury award is the only way to prevent doctors and hospitals from harming not only our clients but all patients who visit a hospital or doctor.
To learn how we are trying to fight this unfair law and how you can help, please contact us at any time. You can reach our team of Ohio lawyers at 877-686-8879 and our team of Kentucky attorneys at 877-686-8879. You can also reach us through our contact form.