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December 01, 2010

Comments

Stephen

This is totally unconstitutional since the VII Amendment guarantees us a right to a trial by jury for any claim in excess of $20.

George

@ Brian - FYI - We call them plaintiffs, not "the prosecution" in civil suits which are the focus of this "reform".

Steve Graves

Our system is designed to hold us accountable for our mistakes, i.e. make us pay for the harm we do on account of our negligence. Doctors should be no exception, and of course neither should lawyers. Our system, including the right to trial by jury, may suck, but it represents centuries' worth of effort toward actual justice, and it does a better job of approximating justice than any other system there is. Look closely and you'll find that most of the people who spend their money and efforts trying to persuade us that jury awards are too large are either (1) on the business end of those awards (i.e. those who have done harm to others and their insurers), (2) have a misguided sense of resentment toward the injured people who receive the awards (or their lawyers) or (3) identify with tortfeasors and their insurers in the sense of "I don't want to pay more for my own insurance (or taxes, or healthcare) just so somebody else can be repaid for his loss," which is more an objection to the concept of insurance (loss spreading) than to the size of damages awards. Though we may be secretly motivated by the feeling that "I don't mind losses being compensated; I just don't want to contribute," that's not a legitimate position to take unless you reject the idea of loss spreading altogether. The things doctors do are often dangerous, the stakes are high and when they screw up the results can be disastrous. We shouldn't try to balance our budget on the backs of people who've been maimed, incapacitated or killed by medical (or any other kind of) negligence.

James O'Hare RPLU AIC AIS

From med mal claims guy since 1985:
Real reform:
A jury of peers for docs, maybe a college degree to offset their 12 years of post HS education.

Loser pays the attorney fees of the other side.

Unaccepted reasoned offers, or settlement demands is another trigger to pay the others fees, if a jury award trumps the demand -or - doesnt reach the offer.

Caps for pain and suffering only. This is the only subjective and unmeasurable element of damages.

Sliding scale for plaintiff attorney fees.
use arbitration to speed things up.

I have a long list, but since there is so much money involved, screams for reform will not be heard.

Dont get me started on healthcare: dumpt mcCarron ferguson so that I can buy HC coverage from anyone. Watch the price and performance effects when competition rules the day. If Hank Ford had no competition, we'd still be in model T's

jim O'Hare RPLU AIC AIS
VP claims
Physicians Ins co
Pompano Fl

John Vail

A cap on damages applies, ironically, only to meritorious lawsuits, ones in which liability has been proven and damages found. It acts as a tax on people who are severely injured, transferring wealth from them to parties who have been proven to have screwed up. Punitive damages are almost never awarded in medical malpractice cases; that issue is a red herring, and the fact that it is invoked undermines the credibility of the proposal.

Curt

The problem with the existing system is a lack of accountability for errors in which a physician's judgment was flawed and resulted in harm. The existing system is notorious for paying-out even when no error occurred and leaving victims without compensation in the face of egregious errors. The claim that reducing the threat of malpractice litigation will leave America with a dangerous and unaccountable health care system is motivated by the threat to malpractice attorney income than by a true desire to improve the system. The malpractice system predates the focus on patient safety of the last 10 years. Since it has obviously failed to produce a safe health care system, there is no reason it should be granted sacred cow status.

Brian

All that needs to be done to cut out the frivolous suits without merit is to make the prosecution responsible for the defense costs and doctors' lost wages while defending themselves if the case is found for the defense.

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