While it’s nice that the politicians want to “save money” and use it to reform the health care system, they’re barking up the wrong tree when it comes to adding what they call "tort reform" to the equation. Capping medical malpractice damage awards, often referred to those in the pro-justice community as “tort deform” may cost more than it saves. Why, you ask?
If victims have severe life-altering injuries, injuries that mean they can never again live the life they used to live, the cost of their care will be on-going, probably lasting until the end of their lives. Capping medical malpractice awards at defined limits means the money for medical care will run out before the life and/or treatment funded by the award ends. Who does such a system assist the most, you ask? Insurance companies who want to limit their losses, that’s who!
"Tort reformers" (big business and insurance companies in disguise) argue that capping awards will reduce defensive medicine; the kind doctors practice by over ordering tests and doing likely unnecessary medical procedures so they don’t get sued. In other words, doctors don’t order tests because they really think the patient has a particular injury, they order them because if it turns out later the patient “did” have that injury, and it was not tested for, things hit the fan. Who wants to be patients of those doctors?
Remember, a patient who is a victim of medical malpractice, through no fault of their own, is caught in the middle of the inelegant political crossfire of those trying to save money at the expense of innocent patients. Those whose lives were turned inside out as a result of medical error will be penalized and left in a situation where they don’t have enough money to meet their medical needs to live what life they have left to them. Where is the fairness in that? Why don’t the tort reformers become more proactive in reforming the system to increase safety and prevention of needless medical errors? Why do their solutions always sound like this? "I’ve got a great idea! Let’s punish/victimize the victim a second time!"
If the government wants money to implement health care reform, Lawsuit Financial, the pro-justice lawsuit funding company, agrees that this is a worthy endeavor; implement protocol, practices and procedures that increase safety, efficiency, organization and accountability in hospitals and clinics. Doing a vampire routine on medical malpractice victims will not get the job done. That’s our opinion, what do you think?
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.