When a person is injured, they have different grounds for damages. Generally, these are broken into specific damages and general damages. Specific damages are those that are measurable, like loss of income and expenses incurred. General damages are harder to measure. These include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment and loss of companionship when the damage happens to a spouse or partner.
There is a trend to limit awards in the general damages area. Both Virginia and Maryland have limits on awards of this type. In fact, Virginia is one of the few states with a cap on total damages including specific damages. These caps have several effects.
Proponents of the caps feel that they will cut down on lawsuits, reduce the cost of medical malpractice insurance and stop doctors from leaving areas with no caps to go practice in “lower cap” states. Opponents of caps dispute these points because they believe that no study has conclusively proven insurance rates go down in states with caps. The truth is somewhere in the middle. States with a lower cap on damages have seen some reduction in the cost of medical malpractice, but it has been slight. While some areas without tort reform are experiencing an increase in the physician-to-patient ratio, there is no demonstrable evidence of a reduction in lawsuits in areas with liability limits.
If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of a medication taken, a medical procedure, or an experience with a doctor or dentist you, need professional advice from a qualified attorney to help determine your course of action. You need to act in a timely fashion to preserve your rights
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.