Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Wisconsin personal injury attorneys and Wisconsin lawyers know this, but an EXCELLENT article on the medical malpractice bill before Congress appears in the March 3, 2003 issue of Business Week Magazine. Even with a doctor has the Speaker of the House, one would think that the medical malpractice bill before Congress should fail due to all the independent evidence out there, see for example those posted throughout the archive here and at my firm home page Wisconsin personal injury attorney.

In any event, the article's author, Lorraine Woellert, reports that in 1975 physicians staged a ridiculous march on California's statehouse and claimed that outrageously high medical malpractice insurance was destroying their ability to practice medicine. Tragically, the politicians, influenced more by insurers and doctors money than the ridiculous rally, gave the special interest groups what they wanted with a law that limited any victim's recovery for pain, suffering, disability and disfigurement to a maximum on $250,000. Such caps were than enacted across the U.S., including in Wisconsin, which has had caps of all shapes and sizes and now limits such damages to $350,000, see Wisconsin medical malpractice law and Wisconsin wrongful death law. Again, premiums are spiking - for the same reason of course, a crummy stock market - and of course the doctors acting as the behest of the medical malpractice insurers are "striking" and staging more rallies. Keep in mind, the newspaper article cited 2/21/2003, showing that doctor's salaries average $199,600 with medical malpractice premiums being a decreasingly small percentage of that.

The article goes on the show that the FACTS show doctors and insurers are wrong and that the following are FALSE:
1) Medical malpractice insurance rates increase slower in states with limits on damages
2) Jury awards have compelled medical malpractice insurers to increase premiums
3) The prevalence of multi-million-dollar awards is increasing
4) Courts are plugged up with an increasingly large number of medical malpractice case

The fact is that damage caps are totally and completely arbitrary. Such caps are of the one size fits all category and have no place in a system that seeks to attain justice. Justice is not the same for everyone, Wisconsin personal injury attorneys know this and so do legislators, insurers and doctors.