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Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules That the Tort Reform Laws Passed in 2009 are Unconstitutional

Lately because of the extreme weather coming out of Oklahoma, news has been grim but thanks to the Oklahoma Supreme Court there is a bright spot on the horizon for victims of medical malpractice.  The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that tort reform laws passed in 2009 are unconstitutional.  The court invalidated the entire bill including caps on damages and other draconian measures.

Perhaps there is hope for Virginia (VA) medical malpractice caps if our Supreme Court follows suit.  After all a 2011 study revealed that payouts to victims of medical malpractice were at the lowest levels…ever. Despite the hyperbolic declarations that doctors are being bankrupted by defending “frivolous lawsuits”, it turns out that’s completely false. The courts are not overrun by medical malpractice claims. In fact, payouts have been steadily declining for the past eight years.

Current caps on medical malpractice lawsuits in Virginia (VA) are two million dollars. No matter what harm is caused to a patient by a medical error, the patient or her family can only receive two million dollars maximum.  This may seem like a reasonable amount if you’ve never been injured but unlike medical malpractice caps in some other states, the Virginia (VA) limit on damages on a medical malpractice case applies regardless of the economic loss to the person. For example, if your father became a quadriplegic as a result of a neck surgery messed up by a doctor, the most that could ever be received from the lawsuit is two million dollars. This limit applies even if the medical bills, past and future, to provide your dad treatment for the rest of his life costs ten million dollars.

Medical malpractice caps are just arbitrary figures designed to save money in our health care system.  As long as the public is falsely led to believe that these caps are fair and in their best interest, which clearly they are not, then law makers have no urgency to change current laws.  Unfortunately most people find this out the hard way when they or a loved one becomes victims to a serious injury caused by medical malpractice.



Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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