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Lawrence Knapp
Lawrence Knapp
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Caps on Medical Malpractice undermine the Civil Justice System

2 comments

A radiology practice and hospital were negligent in the treatment of a woman whose bowel was damaged during surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. Following 9 years of legal wrangling, a Shiawassee County jury awarded $2.9 million to Sue Apsey in her lawsuit against Owosso Memorial Hospital and Shiawassee Radiology Consultants. However, the jury’s decision was completely undermined by State caps on damages. That’s because the caps will likely reduce the award to $1 million less, according to attorneys familiar with the matter. Why bother to have a jury system if the decision of a jury is unreasonbly capped. In California, there has been a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases that has not changed for 30 years! That’s because the insurance industry through threats and fiction managed to get the California government to institute this archaic unfair law. No one in the legislature or anywhere else has done anything to change this sad reality. This despite that fact that most will acknowledge the inherent unfairness of the situation. Health insurers aren’t driving 30 year old cars or using 30 year old computers. But, people injured by medical malpractice are subjected to a 30 year old cap. Its the worst kind of injustice.

2 Comments

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  1. Steve Lombardi says:
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    Larry: Nice post. I’ve written extensively about Texas caps on the Des Moines blog. Here is my take on caps. The effect of caps on damages is to shift costs from treating serious medical mistakes to the patient or consumer. When patients become aware they will not be allowed to collect all their damages from those who’ve made the medical mistake they are naturally outraged. Up to that point they vote for those who push for caps because they mistakenly believe it will save them premium dollars. Time has shown that is not the case. All caps and so called tort reform do is shift costs back to the patient. Medical service providers that aren’t required to take responsibility for bad mistakes have no disincentive to do otherwise. What caps do is to make the situation worse, because it removes responsibility. It’s interesting to me that tort reformers talk about patient responsibility, but that’s exactly what caps avoid for the medical professions making mistakes, they walk away from responsibility and spend the savings on better lifestyles or larger retirement contributions. Meanwhile those patients who the effects of these mistakes live a new life with a partially dead brain, an inability to walk more than a few hundred feet, amputated limbs, incorrectly removed healthy organs or some other dreadful disability. It’s only the most seriously affected that suffer from caps. Patients get screwed and those making the most serious medical mistakes get a better lifestyle, maybe a new house, some get a new car and vacations at the best resorts. Fair or foul? You be the judge. As lawyers all we can do tell voters to consider getting surgery in states without caps. That way if a serious medical mistake affects them, then they can be fairly compensated. Nice post.

  2. Jerry Hayes says:
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    I desparately need an injury attorney to represent me in my lawsuit for injury and Medical Malpractice in Idaho.

    Can you help me yourself as I am being the paralyzed victim of Idaho politics and a ridiculous Damages Cap here.

    I can share in the costs of my case if you will represent me. If I can not get representation soon, the judge will probably kill my case. I am 100 percent mentally and physically disabled , brain damage and paralysis due to Emergency room failure to perform differential evaluation analysis when I had all the symptoms to alert the doctor to do blood test for West Nile Disease and Encephelitis.

    The ER Physician spent no more than 1 or 2 minutes and after an IV, he sent me home saying I only have heat exhaustion. After 7 days of the wrong diagnosis and the exactly wrong recovery direction, I woke up a week later falling to the floor now permanently paralyzed in my legs. After 8 days in a coma near death and after 10 weeks in the VA hospital, now I struggle to exist alone with no one helping me except VA Hospital doctor.

    PLEASE CONTACT ME and help me any way tou can. I NEED an attorney from outside Idaho! I can not fight this battle alone any longer!

    Sincerely,

    Jerry G. Hayes
    Eagle, Idaho