They are at it again: The Republican legislators and their insurance industry puppeteers have passed a bill designed to impede victims of medical malpractice from seeking compensation for their injuries. The bill would limit the attorneys fees that can be charged to victims of medical malpractice, leaving untouched (of course) the amount that doctors and hospitals can pay to their attorneys to defend these complex cases. Here is my letter to the editors of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published today…
It’s not fair to limit advocates for victims
At the behest of the hospital and medical lobby, the Republican-controlled Legislature has passed a bill that would reduce the fees attorneys may charge in representing victims of medical malpractice, declaring that the purpose is to maximize the amount of money that goes to victims of medical malpractice instead of to trial lawyers. But the same legislators passed a bill the day before that placed a $750,000 ceiling on pain and suffering awards to victims of medical malpractice.
It is clear that the proposed limit on attorney’s fees is designed to discourage attorneys from accepting these cases, not to ensure fair compensation to the innocent victims.
Victims face huge medical bills, and they are often out of work due to their disability. Family members often miss work caring for them. Families are unable to pay attorneys on an hourly basis to pursue these complex cases. In contrast, there are no limitations of any kind on what a doctor or insurance company can spend in the defense of these cases.
It is unfair to deprive victims of an experienced and motivated advocate to present their cases. Laws limiting the fees for victims’ attorneys only serve to block the economically disadvantaged from entering the courthouse door.
Gov. Jim Doyle should veto this bill.
David P. Lowe