State and Federal Efforts to Limit Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases

June 6, 2017 | Crandall & Pera Law
State and Federal Efforts to Limit Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases

Pending legislation seeks to compromise the rights of medical malpractice victims, preventing them from obtaining just compensation for their injuries. This is most apparent in federal law, HR 1215, which proposes that non-economic damages be capped at $250,00 for any medical malpractice claim that involves a federal program, tax benefit, or subsidy.

This federal legislation has not been passed to date, but states are beginning to follow suit. A recent law that was passed in Iowa limits victims’ ability to obtain full justice for negligent and irresponsible conduct by doctors and hospitals. Now, when Iowa children and families suffer any type of physical or mental harm—except in cases causing catastrophic disability or death—the doctors and hospitals responsible will only have to pay a maximum of $250,000 for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

Why the new Iowa law and others like it are so hurtful to innocent victims

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed the new medical damage reduction law even though the Governor and the Iowa Congress are fully aware that it does nothing to protect medical malpractice victims who suffer harm through no fault of their own. The fault for their injuries lies with negligent doctors who were poorly trained, fatigued, made an improper diagnosis, or otherwise failed in their duty of care. Iowa’s new law caps pain and suffering losses at $250,000 unless the patient dies, loses major bodily functions, or becomes substantially disfigured.

The potential for inadequate compensation to victims is just one issue that makes this law so troubling. What’s more, the law does nothing to deter doctors from making the same mistakes and hurting other patients.

HR 1215 poses heightened threat to malpractice victims nationwide

Iowa’s new medical malpractice cap is just the tip of the iceberg. HR 1215 involves, at minimum:

  • A $250,000 federal limit applied to all medical malpractice cases, regardless of how severe the injury is.

  • Protection for doctors and hospitals who give defective drugs to patients, even if they are jointly responsible for the patient’s death or injury.

  • Severe limits on legal fees, which directly threatens the ability to bring a medical malpractice claim.

The U.S. Congress is also working to end class-action lawsuits, which protect patients by holding drug and medical device manufacturers accountable for putting profit ahead of product safety.

Read more about tort reform restrictions

To learn more about the federal effort to limit your ability to obtain sufficient pain and damage awards when you suffer a serious or catastrophic injury, we invite you to read more here:

Injured victims deserve full compensation for their injuries. Our Ohio and Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law are dedicated to fighting these new laws so innocent patients can have the quality of life they deserve. For help with any doctor, hospital, or healthcare negligence claims, please call us at 877.651.7764 in Kentucky, 877.686.8879 in Ohio, or fill out our contact form.