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Controversial medical malpractice bill proposes damage cap

A controversial bill in another state may, if it passes, have far-reaching consequences that could spread across the nation, setting a precedent that could potentially affect residents of Washington, D.C. The proposed bill hopes to cap limits on non-economic awards -- like damages for pain and suffering – in medical malpractice lawsuits. The bill also hopes to pre-screen for merit in these cases, requiring certification to prove that the litigation is strong enough to move forward to trial.

Some people, though, are speaking out against the proposal. The new bill would mean that even individuals seriously injured as a result of doctor or surgeon error would face limited awards from any successfully litigated lawsuits. This despite the fact that cases of medical negligence tend to be extremely expensive, with ongoing healthcare often necessary for the remainder of the victims' lives. Limiting the amount of damages could make it economically impossible for some individuals to even attempt to initiate the claim in the first place, making a fight for justice and compensation nigh impossible.

Proponents of the bill insist that it is necessary to allow the healthcare system to continue and grow. They point to the high cost of medical malpractice insurance as a deterrent for doctors. However, the families of the injured victims maintain that the pending legislation is unfair and prejudiced.

No patient should have to pay the cost – either financial or non-economic – for a doctor or surgeon's mistake. While this bill would not remove the possibility of seeking compensation in instances of medical malpractice, it could potentially make the process a much more difficult one, with a lower return of damages awarded – damages that inevitably go toward paying for the victim's ongoing costly medical treatments and physical needs in the aftermath of the medical mistake. With such legal complexities and drastic consequences at stake, the knowledgeable counsel of an experienced Washington, D.C., attorney could prove that much more critical to victims suffering from a doctor's or medical facility's negligent actions.

Source: ourquadcities.com, "Family of medical malpractice victim speak out against proposed", Mike Colon, March 27, 2017

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