All across the nation, states are pushing cases that challenge the sanity of tort reform laws. In states where tort reform has been enacted, cases are making their way up through to that state’s Supreme Court, complaining that the law against maximum awards (caps) on pain and suffering are either insufficient, or shouldn’t exist at all. Some judges seem to side with the plaintiffs — not because they think the plaintiffs are necessarily getting an unfair verdict, but because they don’t like laws that limit their autonomy. Some might claim this is legislating from the bench as well. In the bigger picture, the awards themselves aren’t what’s putting a stranglehold on the medical profession. In a practical world, then, why should we care?
In its simplest form, it’s a matter of temptation. Without such caps, trial attorneys, who are paid on a contingency basis, receiving anywhere from 20-35% of the monies awarded, are just too tempted. When the sky is the limit, if they can persuade a jury to give someone a million dollars in pain and suffering, they just made $350,000. Not too shabby — for them. For doctors, though, it means having to defend against every greedy patient and lawyer team. Eager to sue at the drop of a hat, the attorney has 350,000 good reasons to take a frivolous case to court anyway. Moreover, he doesn’t even have to actually go to court to get money out of the deal. Since so many cases are settled out of court, he’s likely to make thousands just for filing the paperwork! It’s a winning situation for such lawyers, regardless.
So why should we care about Caps? After all, most patients are honest and appreciative, right? Caps matter because not having them is costing every one of us, patient and doctors alike. They steal money that has to be paid by SOMEone (read: the patients.) More importantly, they steal the time and energy of the physician being wrongfully accused. Even if it never goes to trial, just the depositions and records are a big deal. (If you’re a patient, consider what doctors do to make your life better before deciding to let a lawyer talk you into suing them. Next time you need to get in to see a physician, you may find there’s quite a wait, because Doctor is away this week giving a deposition — for a meritless case filed by the greedy exception.)
What is Medical Justice doing about Caps? Of course, we’re in favor of reasonable caps on this aspect of the award, and promote the reasonable perspective. Beyond that, though. Medical Justice helps doctors and other healthcare professionals avoid such suits in the first place. At any given time, there are about 50,000 open medical malpractice cases in the U.S. Yet Medical Justice members are very seldom amongst them. Why is that? The forward-thinking methods prescribed by Medical Justice are extremely effective in deterring frivolous lawsuits, Internet defamation, and unwarranted demands for refunds.
Would you like some of that mojo for your practice? The peace of mind alone is worth the price of the membership, because Medical Justice takes an active role in protecting you and your most valuable assets. Contact Medical Justice today. Find out just how affordable it can be to enjoy the many benefits of membership in this extraordinary organization.