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Federal Tort Reform Measures Stalled

Recently, federal lawmakers have renewed attempts at placing a federal cap on medical malpractice damages. Fortunately, the efforts have stalled of late.

The proposed federal legislation, H.R. 1215, introduced on Feb. 24, 2017, set forth certain limitations, similar to those set forth pursuant to California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) which placed caps on non-economic damages.

These limits include:

  • A 3-year-statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims arising out of Medicare, Medicaid or other federally subsidized insurance programs;
  • A proposed $250,000 cap on non-economic damages; and
  • Immunizing pharmacists and doctors from lawsuits brought by patients harmed by dangerous drugs. This includes prescription drugs such as Xarelto, Abilify and Viagra.

This bill was introduced as part of the broader legislation introduced to replace the Affordable Care Act. With the passage of time, the replacement bill – the AHCA – seems unlikely to pass. However, it is important to keep in mind the issues raised by imposing caps, as we have seen firsthand in California.These include denying patients and victims their right to fully recover damageswhen injured, and makes it difficult, if not impossible, for those with little economic damages to seek recourse in medical malpractice cases. Further, without the checks and balances afforded by litigation, doctors, hospitals and administrators are less likely to make improving patient safety a priority.

As California medical negligence lawyers, we are steadfastly committed to fighting for patients’ rights and ensuring they receive the compensation they deserve when injured by malpractice. For more information, please contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Bostwick Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.
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