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Medical Malpractice Caps Deny Justice for Victims of Medical Malpractice

As Virginia (VA) medical malpractice lawyers we know that doctor and medical mistakes can leave life-long emotional as well as physical scars on patients.  This was true for a woman who miscarried in South Dakota.  As she lay in recovery she knew something was wrong.  But, when a doctor examined her he failed to notice that the surgeon who performed the D&C procedure had perforated her uterus.  It wasn’t until a nurse eventually noticed that something was wrong that the patient was rushed back to the operating room, where doctors performed emergency surgery to remove her uterus. For the woman who came from a large family of eight brothers and two sisters, her dream of having a large family came to an end that day because of a medical error. 

After the botched medical procedure she wanted justice, but was unable to find a lawyer to take her case.  This is because South Dakota lawyers who handle medical malpractice cases say they must turn people away who were victims of egregious medical mistakes. They state that juries are often stacked against them and because a law passed in 1976 by the South Dakota Legislature is deterring legitimate claims.  The law in question capped noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases at $500,000. It did not include an inflationary increase.

Our firm like many other medical malpractice lawyers take cases on contingency, meaning we front the costs, and we only get paid if there's an award or settlement. This allows a client who has been hurt by medical malpractice to hire the very best attorney available without having to come up with cash to pay a retainer or pay the attorney on an hourly basis as would otherwise be the case. The cost of each case can run into the hundreds of thousands in time and expert witnesses.

Medical malpractice caps are arbitrary figures designed to save money in our health care system. Sadly, they fail miserably in this effort and deprive victims of justice and recovery from their injuries.  Proponents of restricting victim's rights fail to recognize that arbitrary medical malpractice caps weaken the foundation of our Republic - the right to have your case decided by a jury of your peers. I echo the sentiments of Georgia Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein who wrote, "The very existence of the caps, in any amount, is violative of the right to a trial by jury."


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