You read it everywhere–doctors are being forced out of Illinois by medical malpractice attorneys in Chicago. But what about the people whose lives are devastated by a medical errors, or whose loved ones are killed by a bad doctor or a mistake at a hospital that was 100% preventable?
Why is the media obsessed with protecting the doctors at the expense of the injured person?
Since before even Shakespeare’s time, regard for lawyers has never been high in the public eye…that is, until one is in dire need of legal representation. The insurance industry is taking full advantage of this public misunderstanding of the vital function of lawyers in American society to propose ineffectual and self-enriching tort reform. The charge for tort reform is being lead on the back of the issue of medical malpractice damage caps.
Any medical malpractice lawsuit in Illinois against a doctor or medical services provider MUST be brought along with a certified statement from a doctor that he has reviewed all of the pertinent medical records and case information, and that the reviewing doctor holds an opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the accused doctor’s medical service was not merely a “bad outcome,” but instead, rises to the level of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is generally defined as care which constitutes an act or omission that even a minimally-qualified doctor would not have rendered. By definition, bad outcomes from risky procedures do not qualify.
No other person or entity being sued in any other type of lawsuit – from car accident, fall-down accidents, products liability cases, contract disputes, or even violations of Constitutional Rights and discrimination suits – receives this “report first” procedural protection afforded to doctors. Damage caps are yet another procedural hurdle the insurance industry wishes to have placed in the way of wrongfully – and catastrophically – injured patients seeking a reckoning.
Currently, in jurisdictions without damage caps, a jury of twelve (as provided in Amendment VII to the U.S. Constitution) listens to all of the law and all of the facts of a particular case, including damages testimony from the injured person, of the plaintiff’s treating doctors, of life-care planners who have calculated the precise amount of money that the crippled plaintiff’s future care is likely to require, and of economists who have calculated, down to the penny, the amount of money the injured person has lost by no longer being able to work in their former capacity – or if the injury is severe enough, at all.
Armed with knowledge, and after hearing all of the defendant’s exculpatory and damages-reducing evidence, the jury retires and, first, decides whether the doctor’s conduct was not merely mistaken, and the harm not merely an innocent “bad outcome” but instead, rises to the level of medical malpractice. If, and only if, a jury makes this determination, it must next consider damages, or, how to fix what can be fixed, help what can be helped, and make up for what cannot be helped or fixed. Hawaii medical malpractice
Already having a pre-suit procedural safeguard to ensure that only cases with merit are filed against doctors, the insurance industry has now turned its attention to the damages aspect of medical malpractice lawsuits. Instead of allowing the twelve people with the most information and knowledge of the case (the jury) to fix a precise amount which is necessary to compensate the wrongfully injured person, the insurance industry is lobbying hard for caps on damages. In other words, instead of leaving a determination on damages up to the people who have heard exactly how and how much the injured person has been damaged, Big Insurance prefers that a silver-spoon legislature makes that decision.
Instead of relief tailored to the particular case, and a jury left to its constitutionally-mandated province, Republicans and their insurance-industry benefactors seek to impose a big-government, one-size-fits-all answer. They don’t trust juries made up of people like you, your friends and your neighbors to decide based on the facts and evidence in each individual case