There has always been a debate regarding the caps placed on medical malpractice damages and whether the monetary figure currently in place would justly compensate a victim of medical malpractice.
Health care providers believe that the caps placed on non-economic damages is an effective way to limit the potential liability that they could be against which results in making the cost of providing health care more expectable. Victims of medical malpractice claims believe that the caps are very limited and do not fully compensate the plaintiff for the loss that they incurred.
Currently, 24 states have caps placed on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims, but there has been much debate and propositions such as California’s Prop 46 trying to increase or even remove the cap on non-economic damages. Health care providers argue that when there are caps on non-economic damages, hospitals will save almost an estimated $400 million dollars and the cap would result in a 24% reduction in insurance premiums for hospitals and premiums. In addition, doctors and physicians would be hesitant to report medical errors because they would be afraid that it would be used against them in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
On the other hand, those who are opposed to the caps on medical malpractice damages argue that the medical malpractice caps help doctors more than anyone and these caps would prevent doctors from being fully responsible for their negligence in treating patients properly. They also counter by saying that medical malpractice caps do not affect the cost on insurance premiums because they only account on less than 2% of all healthcare costs.
The future of medical malpractice damages could be changing since many believe that the caps that were set many years ago have inflated and the amount plaintiffs are being compensated for their pain and suffering and sometimes even death is not enough to compensate their total loss.
It is fair to say that even though doctors and physicians can insure themselves against payments of damages, they cannot insure themselves against emotional reputational and work-related cost of expenses. With the amount of close knit social interaction and communication that occurs in today’s society, one medical malpractice mistake could be very costly to a doctor’s reputation and character, which in the end is more valuable than money.
Authored by Kourosh Akhbari, LegalMatch Legal Writer