The House of Representatives has passed another so-called tort reform bill that would limit recovery of people harmed or kill by acts of malpractice. H.R. 5, the “Protecting Access to Healthcare Act” would impose a cap of $250,000 that would severely cut the damages of victims and make it far more difficult for such victims to secure contingency counsel. The bill passed 223 to 181 with seven Democrats joining Republicans to pass the bill. The bill is unlikely to be considered by the Democratic-controlled Senate.
If enacted, H.R. 5 would cap the nonecomomic damages that a plaintiff in a health care lawsuit could recover. It would also preempt existing state laws on proportionate liability, allow courts to reduce contingent fees, and abolish the collateral source rule. For over 200 years, the authority to determine these matters and other aspects of medical liability law has rested with the states. For some reason, Republicans want to ignore 200 years of history, ignore state’s rights, and curtail the rights of ordinary citizens to seek complete justice.
We have written frequently about other misguided tort reform efforts in the United States. Click here to see our previous posts. A 2011 film called Hot Coffee puts faces on the rights at stake, and details the impact of caps and other tort deform efforts. It is a must see for anyone concerned about civil justice. You can view our post about the movie by clicking here.
We urge you to call your U.S. Senator and urge him/her to reject this misguided attempt to strip us of our rights, and leave tort law to the states.