Malpractice awards; New cap deserves approval

Associated Press
Friday, March 10, 2006

It has taken two tries, but the Legislature has finally arrived at a reasonable compromise on a cap on pain-and-suffering awards in medical malpractice cases. Unlike the previous cap that was vetoed by Gov. Jim Doyle, we believe this cap is far more equitable and deserves the governor's signature. 

We also think, as do the Republican and Democratic lawmakers who approved the $750,000 cap, that it is far more likely to withstand constitutional scrutiny by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the key issue here.

It was that scrutiny that doomed the state's original cap of $445,775, when indexed for inflation. The high court ruled, 4-3, in July that the old cap was unconstitutional, prompting the Legislature to come up with a two-tiered alternative: $450,000 for adults and $550,000 for those younger than 18. 

Critics of caps, including the Center for Justice and Democracy, make some good arguments. The best is that jury awards, legal fees and insurance make up only a tiny percentage of total health spending. They also argue that the increase in insurance rates seen in 2001 and 2002 now seems to be leveling off, reducing the need for caps.

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

Join Our Fight!

The Center for Justice & Democracy is the only national consumer organization in the country exclusively dedicated to protecting our civil justice system. If you'd like more information, please contact us.

Connect with us