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Malpractice damage caps only benefit insurance companies

In Connecticut, there is no cap on damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Which is fortunate for anyone unfortunate enough to have suffered a severe injury due to a doctor's error or mistake. A story from South Dakota highlights how a law that protect doctor's negligence cause harm to their injured victims.

Damage caps in personal injury cases are sold to the public in the guise of helping keep health care costs down by lowering the expense of doctor's medical malpractice insurance. This has been shown to be factually incorrect, and in many states where damage caps have been enacted, medical costs have increased nonetheless. Connecticut does not have these damage caps.

It is important to recognize that medical malpractice cases serve important functions beyond just compensating the victim for their harm. The makes it more expensive to employ negligent doctors, meaning hospitals and medical groups are less likely to hire doctors with poor records, marked by large medical malpractice damage awards.

In addition to that, they can help force healthcare institutions to reform and change their procedures, to prevent these kinds of devastating doctor's errors from reoccurring. In many cases, the victim or their family may see this as the most important aspect of their lawsuit.

They do not want to feel that their injuries or the death of their loved one was in vain, that it was trivial or inconsequential. By suing and obtaining a judgment, they feel vindicated that justice has been done.

Because damage caps can virtually make it impossible to bring a very expensive medical malpractice cases, these people are foreclosed from ever obtaining that satisfaction. And that pain may be as intense as the physical pain they may endure every day.

Ctpost.com, "Medical malpractice victims in SD can't find lawyers," Jonathan Ellis, Argus Leader, February 2, 2015

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