New Bill May Limit Settlements for Medical Malpractice in DC

When you have been seriously injured as a result of medical negligence in Virginia, you’re probably not thinking about the amount of money you could receive in compensation. You’re most likely trying to recuperate from your injury, wondering how the mistake could have been made—and how to ensure this kind of error never happens again. 

Unfortunately, some victims of malpractice will exploit their situation for financial gain. This is bad news for all patients: a handful of frivolous lawsuits have spurred legislators to stop victims “benefitting” from their pain. 

Nearly a year ago, Representative Phil Gingrey introduced a tort reform bill that would significantly limit settlements in medical malpractice cases. H.R.5, or the "Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare" (HEALTH) bill, was supposedly created to improve patient access to health care by reducing the costs of potential malpractice suits. 

Under the new legislation, victims of medical malpractice can expect: 

  • A maximum of $250,000 for non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering)
  • A shorter statute of limitations on filing suit: three years after the injury occurs, or one year after the date of discovery
  • A greatly reduced amount of punitive damages (costs that the negligent doctor must pay as punishment for his mistake)
  • Greater protection for pharmaceutical companies: the new law would exempt drug companies from punitive damages if their product was approved by the FDA.

According to the Institute of Medicine, nearly 100,000 patients die every year due to medical malpractice. As experienced Fairfax medical malpractice attorneys, we know that these laws are made to attract successful doctors to practices and reduce healthcare costs. However, it is unfair to punish victims who have been seriously injured or even killed as a result of medical negligence by slashing the amount they can receive in court.

At Shevlin Smith, our attorneys fight to get you the maximum possible settlement in your medical malpractice case. To learn how we can help you, call Shevlin Smith today at (703) 591-0067 for a free consultation, or order our FREE book, Do I Have A Case? A Patient's Guide to Virginia Medical Negligence Law.

Michael J. Shevlin
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Specializing in medical malpractice and serious personal injury cases since 1994.