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Jamie G. Goldstein
Jamie G. Goldstein
Attorney • (866) 735-1102 Ext 626

Caps or No Caps, Do They Really Effect Payouts?

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At one time Oregon had caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, but the caps have not been in effect since 1999. There was a push to reinstate the caps in 2004 but the bill failed. So what has been the result of the removal of the caps since 1999? Many may be surprised…

Oregon has lower medical malpractice payouts than all but seven of the fifty states, and this is without having caps on awards. Research shows that the caps are making little difference in the awards. This shows that juries are smart enough to recognize what a person deserves when he/she brings a claim against a doctor or hospital. The jury system is in place to judge the merits of a case and this is where decisions about awards should be made, not in a meeting of politicians that are nowhere near the courtroom to hear how a doctor removed the wrong leg of a patient or how he failed to diagnose a large spot on someone’s lung and that person has since died of lung cancer.

The reforms that doctors and lobbyists are pushing for all over the country, including Illinois, are being pushed for the wrong reasons. The research shows that these reforms do not change how juries award money or decrease insurance premiums. In fact, in Oregon in recent years there have been significant decreases in premiums without the caps that doctors and people in the medical field seem to think are the answer to high premiums. The real answer is to make certain doctors are properly qualified and are doing what is necessary to keep their patients safe. If something does go wrong then that is why they have insurance, so a patient can be compensated. That is why we all carry insurance, whether it is car insurance, homeowners insurance or professional insurance. It is there for a reason.