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Why a move to cap malpractice payouts could be on the horizon

According to the Wall Street Journal, life insurance premiums are rising, and insurers are blaming the low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve in recent years, which they say have impacted their investments and therefore their bottom lines. Medical malpractice premiums, according to the report, likely won't be far behind.

If this occurs, doctors and the organizations that represent them could put pressure on legislators to cap medical malpractice payouts and enact legislation to prohibit so-called "nuisance lawsuits." This wouldn't be the first "medical malpractice crisis" to occur within the past 15 years when malpractice insurance premiums rose and those in the medical field acted to try to offset it.

As with just about everything, the politics around medical malpractice are generally split down party lines. Republicans have generally been in favor of malpractice payout caps. Trial lawyers tend to have the ear of Democrats.

Medical malpractice laws vary by state. Mississippi has capped noneconomic damages at $500,000 since 2002. The original 2002 law included an escalator clause that would have continued to raise the cap until it reached $1 million in 2017. However, legislators voted in 2004 to keep the cap at $500,000.

Tort reform legislation involving medical malpractice suits can impact the ability of people who have suffered harm at the hands of doctors and other medical professionals to seek justice. Doctors and hospitals can fight back hard against malpractice suits and have the resources to do so. That's why it's essential to have the guidance of an experienced Mississippi malpractice attorney who can work to seek the maximum possible compensation that you as a surviving family member or victim deserve.

Source: Mother Jones, "Early Warning: Another Medical Malpractice "Crisis" May Be on the Horizon," Kevin Drum, Sep. 01, 2016

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