The subject of tort reform always comes up when healthcare costs are discussed, with proponents claiming high medical malpractice awards significantly contribute to high costs. What tort “reformers” often fail to mention is the necessity of significant financial punishments to keep the medical community honest.
Tort involves a “civil crime” like an auto accident or a medical malpractice suit. The “reform” typically discussed attempts to prevent “runaway verdicts” that can range into the millions of dollars.
When doctors make mistakes, it can permanently alter the life of a patient. Crippling, permanent injuries or even death is possible when medical negligence occurs, and doctors are sworn to protect our health. While it might be appealing to expect the best out of our fellow human beings, giving a lackluster performance while on the job is not uncommon, even for doctors.
Many of the higher verdicts that are awarded in medical malpractice cases involve significant punitive damages. Punitive damages are not to reward the victim, but rather to inflict financial punishment. When faced with a suit where the doctor recklessly endangered his or her patient, the jury may attempt to punish the doctor in order to discourage the behavior.
Our Denver injury lawyer Tom Metier’s recent successful medical malpractice lawsuit obtained a $9 million verdict for our client. Had tort reform changed the law, this verdict would not have been possible. Through medical negligence, our client’s life was nearly ruined, but we hope our verdict sends a message to healthcare professionals about their duties, and we encourage the legislation to avoid adopting tort reform measures.
The Metier Law Firm, LLC – Denver injury lawyers