California malpractice laws limit justice for all
If you think about it..that was the main reason given for instituting them right? So people couldn’t take ‘advantage’ of the system? I never bought that bullshit, but it seems to have had a detrimental effect on the ability of people who have been wronged by the medical community to get justice, or..in some cases..their pound of flesh when a loved ones dies because of a doctors incompetence. The LA Times has an interesting read on it which really paints a bleak picture that lawyers won’t take a case because there isn’t enough money in it anymore.
In 1975, California enacted legislation capping malpractice payments after an outcry from doctors and insurers that oversized awards and skyrocketing insurance rates were driving physicians out of the state.
The frivolous lawsuit excuse is pure bullshit to me. Judges and jury’s refuse to award big money to cases that have very little going for them in the malpractice department. Pain and suffering is what the law limited..to $250,000 a case. There is no limit on loss of future wages or other extenuating circumstances.
Notice the quote whines about the cost to insurance companies. Fuck those guys. They are not our friends and they do anything within their power to fuck anyone that attempts to collect money after years of faithfully paying their premiums in many cases..hell in all cases. The health insurance industy is probably the worst at it. Malpractice insurance isn’t my forte’ but I swear I have had enough doctors in my life that had no business practicing medicine, and I have heard enough horror stories to make my whole head of hair go gray.
So it was with interest I read the LAT writeup. The Docs and their insurance companies are quite happy with the outcome since the law was passed. The fees for malpractice insurance have risen less in Cali than most anywhere else due to the law. Other states have seen the difference in retaining doctors and passed their own similar laws.
But who needs protecting the most here? Insurance companies or the consumer? From the writeup:
Critics say it is increasingly preventing victims and their families from getting their day in court, especially low-income workers, children and the elderly. Their reasoning: The cap on pain and suffering has never been raised nor tied to inflation.
Meanwhile, the costs of putting on trials are often paid by attorneys and continue to rise each year. That means those who rely mainly on pain and suffering awards — typically people who didn’t make much money at the time of their injury — are increasingly unattractive to lawyers.
Some states are reexamining their caps on pain and suffering. But not Cali. Here are some findings regarding Cali’s malpractice laws:
Yet a Times analysis of state court records, physician payment data and insurer financial records suggests that the cap is increasingly preventing families such as the Stewarts from getting their day in court.
Among the findings:
* Court malpractice filings have fallen in eight of the 10 most populous counties in California that track such information. In Los Angeles, they’re down 48% since 2001 to their lowest per-capita level in nearly four decades. In Orange County, they fell 29% over the same period
* At Kaiser Permanente, where members must resolve malpractice claims in arbitration rather than court, claims have fallen almost 20% since 2001.
* The number of payments to victims and their families across the state was down 24% since 1991, according to a review of a federal government database of nearly half a million claims. Nationally, the decline over the same period was 10%.
* The malpractice earnings of California insurers has far outpaced national averages in recent years. According to financial reports, insurers in the state have paid out just 39 cents of every premium dollar since 1991. The national average was 63 cents.
Bullshit on a stick. To continue reading the writeup, click here. I really have to say it might jack your jaw just a tad. It’s amazing how special interest groups get all the breaks. I am not blaming the medical industry, I am blaming the insurance industry once again. Their business models suck and everything is aimed at saving them money. When members of the medical profession come out against the malpractice law and it’s built in limitations like this..you know its wrong.