Tort Reform: Complex Claims for Simple Cases
The recent case of Ebola in Texas could lead to tort claims after an early misdiagnosis left a number of people exposed to the virus. Unfortunately, if any claims of negligence are brought forward, prosecution will have the difficult task of ensuring that their claim is valid according to the state's recently reformed tort law. This case is a powerful reminder of the importance of protecting individual access to medical malpractice claims.
Malpractice Limitations and the Ebola Virus
Recent evidence confirms that the practitioners at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital failed to recognize their patient's symptoms of Ebola, in spite of knowledge that he had recently travelled to Liberia, where the virus is currently at its worst. The man was sent home from the emergency room with antibiotics. Three days later, he was readmitted to the hospital, and he passed away in the following days.
The man's family has not only suffered the loss of a loved one-they have also been exposed to one of the world's deadliest viruses. While the harm caused by this misdiagnosis would be considered legitimate grounds for a malpractice claim in most states, Texas law may prevent them from seeking damages.
The family cannot secure compensation on account of mistakes in the diagnosis. Instead, they must bolster a claim with evidence that the staff involved were "willfully and wantonly negligent." Additionally, if the family manages to win a claim, their compensation will be limited by a monetary cap of a few hundred thousand dollars for non-economic damages.
Consequences of Tort Reform
As a result of recent tort reform, Texas has seen a notable drop in the number of statewide malpractice claims. Victims of injury and their families have been rendered incapable of recouping damages for most deaths and injuries caused by medical negligence. Rather than protect the patient, the recent changes in tort law have left them vulnerable to careless activity that would be inexcusable in other states.
When considering tort reform in West Virginia, it is important to consider the realistic aspect of these revisions. Changing such laws could have a very real effect on your own life if your spouse, child, or parent suffers injury or death at the hands of a negligent practitioner. Failure to consider the reforms in this light may cause people to miss the real issue at hand, and unintentionally slight justice in the process.
Contact a Committed Litigator
Our firm, Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC continues to support the rights of victims in medical malpractice cases. We provide each of our clients with quality representation informed by more than 35 years of combined experience. Our West Virginia injury lawyers are compassionate, dedicated, and ready to handle your case.