Professional wrestler Hulk Hogan — whose actual name is Terry Bollea — is reportedly suing his spine surgeon / spine surgery center (Laser Spine) for $50 million, His suit argues the outpatient spine surgery chain “did unnecessary surgeries that damaged his career.” In Florida, the statute of limitations is two years. I cannot recall the last time Mr. Hogan took to the mat, but it seems like a distant memory.
The $50 M figure reminds us why it’s a game of high stakes poker to take care of the rich and famous. While it’s flattering to be asked to provide medical advice or surgery for Hollywood actors, rock stars, and hedge fund managers, these people make a lot of money. If you are accused of negligence, the allegation will be for pain and suffering, of course, but also lost wages. When your patient is making tens of millions of dollars of year, well, the typical $1M / 3M policy limit is going to be little more than a good start.
Many wealthy people carry disability and life insurance to make them whole in case of injury, from whatever cause. But, not all. In any event, being on the receiving end of a $50M suit is a cautionary tale of a Legal System Gone Wild.