Tuesday, 16 of January of 2018

Virginia Medical Malpractice Damage Cap To Be Increased?

The bill, if passed, would increase the damage cap from $2 million to $2.05 million starting on July 1, 2012. The cap would then increase by $50,000 annually with the last increase on July 1, 2031.

By Jim Lewis, Medical Malpractice Lawyer in VA

Virginia (VA) Delegate Dave Albo, chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee, introduced House Bill 1459 which proposes a slight increase in the “damage cap” for medical malpractice lawsuits.

The bill, if passed, would increase the damage cap from $2 million to $2.05 million starting on July 1, 2012. The cap would then increase by $50,000 annually with the last increase on July 1, 2031.

I am glad to see VA Delegates addressing the arbitrary, unfair medical malpractice damage cap. However, I would advocate for no cap at all.

I know what some of you might be thinking, “Typical trial lawyer looking to take advantage of the courts to get an even bigger payday.” This is the stereotype perpetuated by big insurance companies and the Chamber of Commerce. They want you to believe that restricting damage awards for helpless victims of medical negligence somehow helps reduce health care costs. Nothing could be further from the truth.

 From 2000 to 2009, health care spending rose 83 percent while medical malpractice payments fell 8 percent (both figures are in unadjusted dollars). You read that right. As medical malpractice jury awards fell, health care costs actually increased drastically.

Furthermore, public health and health policy experts ran the numbers and concluded in the September 2010 issue of the journal Health Affairs that “overall annual medical liability system costs, including defensive medicine, are estimated to be $55.6 billion in 2008 dollars, or 2.4 percent of total health care spending.” Note the 2.4 percent figure. Now, recognize that the researchers also found that “total malpractice indemnity payments [i.e., malpractice lawsuit verdicts and settlements] were $5.72 billion a year in 2008 dollars.”

As you can see, the supposed correlation between VA tort laws and health care costs is more myth than fact.

Let’s hope HB 1459 becomes law and victims of surgical errors and medical negligence could potentially get a slight increase in a settlement or jury verdict.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases, which includes hospital/doctor mistakes, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, check out our FREE special reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the top 5 surgical errors you must know about. Our primary office in based in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) and we also have a North Carolina (NC) law office.  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now—we provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. PA


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