In New York State, harmed, neglected, or improperly treated medical patients have the benefit of not being subjected to an arbitrary “cap” on what they can receive as a result of the work done by medical malpractice lawyers. While these caps are put in place to help protect healthcare organizations and individual professionals from exorbitant burdens, many states are still operating under outdated regulations set decades ago.
This is the exact reason why states like Indiana have decided to change their laws. According to the IndyStar, state lawmakers unanimously agreed in early March to an increase in the medical malpractice damages cap from $1.25 million in non-economic damages to $1.65 million in 2017 then $1.8 million in 2019.
Some states have even lower thresholds, which can barely account for the average compensation for medical malpractice statistics. In the inpatient setting, of which 34% of medical malpractice claims involve surgery mistakes, this number is around $363,000, and in the outpatient setting, mistakes are awarded an average of $290,000.
While this move will certainly help improve the outcomes for the potential victim, the state will still be a ways away from the uncapped standards our medical malpractice lawyers get to play by. One of the reasons for the change was that lawmakers in Indiana were reportedly worried about the potential for a Constitutional challenge to the prior 18-year-old cap.
As you would expect, lobbyists from the healthcare industry were at the forefront of hindering activity in this realm and were able to prevent initial legislation measures that could have increased the cap to $2.25 million or every four years based on inflation.
These kinds of laws might be unpopular to those in the healthcare field, but they’re crucial to our society overall. This monetary compensation will never adequately restore a person or family who has lost a loved one, or been irreparably harmed from neglect or malpractice, but it’s the best way we have to make it more easy/comfortable.
Medical malpractice statistics show that the phenomenon is a lot more prevalent and harmful than one might imagine. In fact, medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind only heart disease and cancer, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Even though it doesn’t affect the work we do at our law offices, it’s good to see the country moving forward and attempting to keep pace with this important part of accountable care and treatment.