Unfortunately, a few state legislatures have made misguided attempts to take away the rights of medical malpractice victims in the name of “tort reform.” Big insurance interests and the medical lobby continue to work their contacts to drive through changes in state law that will make it more difficult for those harmed by the mistakes of their medical provider to seek fair compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit . The Orlando Sentinel reported recently on another state assembly that has enacted claimed tort reform measures.
Florida officials last week pushed through legislation that included a variety of changes to the legal systems all with the cumulative effect of insulating the negligent professionals from being held fully accountable for their conduct. For one, the new bill enacts changes to the court rules about expert witnesses. These witnesses will now be required to obtain a certificate from the state health department before providing any testimony in a case and undergo stricter disciplinary standards. The changes are intended to throw more obstacles in the way of injured victims seeking recovery.
On top of that, the bill places severe limits on the ability of victims to file medical malpractice lawsuits against a teaching hospital. The state’s “sovereign immunity” would protect these hospitals from all but the more egregious cases of negligence. Considering research continues to show that more medical mistakes are made in those institutions, the latest changes will have a chilling effect on the ability of many victims to receive fair compensation for their losses.
Interestingly, the leading lawmakers who pushed through the measure admitted that the changes were nothing more than a “deal” made with hospitals in exchange for other funding changes at hospitals. In other words, there were no objective, logical reasons for taking a hatchet to the legal rights of medical victims. Instead, those average community members had their rights taken from them as a bargaining chip with big interests.
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti urge all those who care about the legal rights of the average American to do all in their power to fight against these misguided legislative efforts. Please contact your state representatives, state senators, federal lawmakers, and activists groups and urge them not to bow to the pressures of the insurance lobby against average citizen victims.
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