This is part two of a three-part series. The first part appeared yesterday on the Lawyers.com Blog.
Washington, D.C., may seem far away, but a tort reform bill under consideration by Congress will affect you if you are the victim of medical malpractice or a harmful side effect of a prescription drug. In January 2011, Republican Representative Phil Gingrey introduced H.R.5 before the US House of Representatives, using the name "Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare" (HEALTH). The stated purpose of the bill is to improve patient access to health care services, however, consumers are the last ones to benefit from the legislation.
• Specifically, the law seeks to cap non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, to $250,000.
• It greatly restricts the awarding of punitive damages, which are damages levied on the negligent party as a form of punishment for the wrongful action.
• It would shorten the statute of limitations to bring a medical malpractice claim to either three years after the injury arises or one year after the individual discovers the injury.
• The bill also has a special provision that shields pharmaceutical and medical device makers from punitive damages as long as their products got FDA approval.
"The Institute of Medicine estimates that as many as 98,000 patients die each year as a result of medical malpractice," Paul says. "There's no question that there is a significant number of medical malpractice errors in this country, and H.R.5 is essentially trying to limit the ability of people who have been injured or have lost a loved one to seek equitable compensation in court."
Please see full article below for more information.
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