Medical Malpractice FAQ

What are some proposals for reforming medical malpractice law?

Ideas for reforming the medical malpractice litigation system are as varied as they are numerous. Some of the major proposals that have emerged in recent years include:

  • Establishing special medical malpractice courts where a medically-trained judge hears and decides cases. Critics of this proposal point out that it would remove litigants' right to a jury trial.
  • Capping damages. Many states have already put this reform into effect. Some limit the total amount of damages a plaintiff can recover. Others cap only general damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the like), but not special damages (medical bills, lost income). Many states also limit the amount that a patient's attorney can receive. (To learn about the different types of damages in medical malpractice cases, see Nolo's article Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases.)
  • Shortening the time period in which a patient must bring a lawsuit (the statute of limitations) after being injured.

For more information on personal injury claims, see How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim, by Attorney Joesph L. Matthews (Nolo).

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