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Medical Malpractice Damage Caps are Undermining Juries

Across the country, states including Ohio have passed laws instituting damage caps on non-economic loss following an incident of negligent care from a medical provider. While the laws supposedly were passed to deter frivolous lawsuits, the reality is that these laws take away the power juries have to provide fair compensation to victims of careless physicians and hospitals.

Malpractice cases usually are heard by a jury composed of ordinary citizens. After hearing the evidence and being instructed in the law, jurors decide how much – if any — compensation should be paid to the victim. Juries typically include money to fund future care costs, to make up for lost wages, and for the victim’s suffering.

Unfortunately, legislators in Ohio have decided that they don’t really care what ordinary citizens who have actually heard the evidence have to say. Instead, they have simply decided that no matter how horrific the circumstances, and no matter what a jury thinks, damages for suffering should be limited, in most cases to $350,00 (and even in the most extreme cases, to $500,000). This law sometimes dramatically reduces the compensation determined by a jury to be fair and appropriate.

In the 2012 case of Grover Hord, after emergency room doctors failed to diagnose his broken back, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, the Ohio damage cap law reduced the amount the jury awarded him by 66%. By all accounts, the jury listened closely to the evidence and came up with a just verdict. Little did they know that after they were discharged from jury service, their decision was cut by two-thirds!

This is merely one example of the thousands of people who have been victimized twice: once by negligent healthcare providers, and again by state legislators. The supreme courts in many states have thrown out these laws similar to Ohio’s law, finding them to be unconstitutional. The Ohio Supreme Court, however, has not done so.

The Ohio medical malpractice attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm have extensive experience in medical malpractice cases. Trust our experience, tenacity and resources to build a strong case and to position your case to maximize your recovery, even in the face of unfair laws passed by callous legislators who think they know better than folks who actually hear the evidence in a courtroom. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact us today for a free consultation and case review. Contact us online or call 216-687-0900.