Senate Denies Cap of Malpractice Compensation

Senate Denies Cap of Malpractice Compensation

In a victory for victims of medical malpractice, the Senate blocked proposed legislation meant to cap compensation to injured patients at $250,000 regardless of damages suffered.

Proponents of two bills designed to limit patient retribution failed to gain support of the 60 senators necessary to proceed on the measures on Monday.

Ken Suggs, President of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, hailed the Senate’s actions as a triumph for patient’s rights. Suggs described the proposed legislation as narrow-viewed and anti-patient.
“This one-size-fits-all approach is unfair to victims and limits their ability to hold wrongdoers accountable, letting those who are negligent off the hook for providing inadequate care,” Suggs said.

This marks the fourth time in three years the Senate has voted down legislation to limit damages paid in cases of medical negligence. The redundancy caused Nevada Democrat, Senator Harry Reid to brand this latest attempt “a waste of the Senate’s time.”

Proponents claimed the legislation was meant to halt soaring insurance rates, but studies cited during debate attributed this to insurance company practices rather than lawsuits.

"The explanation for these premium spikes can be found not in legislative halls or courtrooms, but in the boardrooms," Senator Edward Kennedy said.

Additionally, the bills did not address important issues surrounding malpractice such as the 44,000 to 98,000 American deaths due to medical negligence as reported by the Institute of Medicine.

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