Is Tort Reform Worth It?
There has been a recent political push to reform tort laws in West Virginia. While the concept of limiting fraudulent claims is admirable, it is best to consider how such reforms may affect the average person pursuing a medical malpractice claim. Texas is a valuable example of a state where the effects of changing tort law can be observed on a daily basis.
Tort Reform in Action
Several years ago, a Louisiana family took their son to a hospital in Texas for treatment of a brain tumor. After some chemotherapy, a neurosurgeon offered to remove the boy's tumor rather than continue with radiation treatment. He explained the risk of fluid build-up in the youth's brain, and said that he would take action to drain any fluid when necessary.
Unfortunately, when faced with a fluid build-up several days after surgery, the surgeon neglected to provide any treatment. He spent several hours at dinner while the boy's condition worsened, and only performed surgery after the situation had advanced beyond repair. The boy passed away the following morning, and previous statements about acting to eliminate excess fluid in the brain were removed from all records. His parents, distraught, filed a claim for medical malpractice-but were unable to win their case on account of limitations in medical malpractice law.
The Effects of Tort Reform
The circumstances surrounding this story have continued to persist, and statistics indicate that many victims of medical practice are far less capable of seeking justice for preventable injuries. In spite of numerous claims that Texas is advancing in healthcare because of tort reform, the state has continued to follow trends that are on par with, or less favorable than, other states with no damage cap. Residents of the state of experienced following:
- Increasing cost of healthcare insurance
- Some of the lowest-quality care in the nation
- Cap of $250,000 for non-economic losses
- Significantly reduced number of malpractice claims
- Virtual inability to seek damages for public healthcare
Put simply, reforms in medical malpractice law only seem to benefit the practitioners and insurance companies who are no longer responsible for compensating victims of serious loss. For the time being, our West Virginia medical malpractice lawyers at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC will continue to help clients seek justice after suffering from irresponsible treatment. We hope our clients will always remain free to pursue suitable damages as they recover from unthinkable loss.