Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Bill to Eliminate Patient Safety Passes House – Time to Notify Senate to Vote NO on HR 1215

Gage Mathers has always fought for patient safety and patient rights. If the Bill passed by the House is approved in the Senate, your patient safety rights and ability to sue for medical negligence may be severely limited or eliminated. We are sending this notice to all of our clients to encourage you to contact your Senators and tell them to vote NO on HR 1215.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the “Protecting Access to Care Act” (H.R. 1215), a bill that strips patients and nursing home residents of their rights to hold the health care industry accountable in court for injuries or death caused by medical negligence, intentional abuse, and defective or dangerous products. The bill faced robust bipartisan opposition and it narrowly passed by a vote of 218-210.

“With today’s vote, the House once again prioritized the interests of health care corporations and the insurance industry at the expense of safe, affordable medical care for Americans. AAJ stands with patients and calls on the Senate to protect the people of this country by rejecting H.R. 1215.”

For example, all states have established statutes of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits. H.R. 1215’s federally mandated statute of limitations of 3 years after the date of injury or 1 year after the claimant discovers the injury, and the more stringent limitations on minor child injuries would preempt approximately 47 states. H.R. 1215’s requirement that the imposition of several liability based on a percentage at fault would unjustly preempt 26 jurisdictions that allow for joint and several liability. Furthermore, despite “state flexibility” H.R. 1215’s proposed noneconomic damages cap would automatically preempt 17 jurisdictions, which do not have a damage award limit or cap, and jeopardizes some of the 35 jurisdictions that have a limit or cap but that may not meet the stringent $250,000 mandated cap.

Section 6, which requires periodic payments for future damages, would force 20 states to comply with this federal mandate, including states that have previously held such provisions to be unconstitutional. Impacted states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, and New Hampshire. “H.R. 1215 shamefully protects negligent medical providers, abusive nursing home corporations, and careless drug companies when they place profits ahead of quality care.  Each year, 440,000 Americans lose their lives due to preventable medical errors. If this bill becomes law, victims and their loved ones will be unable to hold those responsible accountable. Without accountability, every American is at risk.”

“Medical malpractice liability has always been governed by the states, but H.R. 1215 is an offensive federal power grab that would trample on states’ efforts to protect their citizens and to deter dangerous, negligent providers.”

The bill includes a federal cap on non-economic damages, imposes a federal statute of limitations for most claims, restricts attorneys’ fees, and grants blanket immunity to health care providers who prescribe a drug or device that was at any point approved by the FDA – even if that drug or device has since been proven to be dangerous.

We respectfully urge you to ask your Senators to vote against the passage of H. R. 1215 or any bill or amendment that directly or indirectly preempts any state law governing the awarding of damages by mandatory, uniform amounts or the awarding of attorney’s fees. This opposition should also extend to any provision affecting the drafting of pleadings, the introduction of evidence, and statutes of limitations. We urge you to oppose any federal legislation that would undermine the capacity of aggrieved parties to seek full and fair redress in state courts for physical harm done to them due to the negligence of others.

Contact your senators and tell them to vote against HR 1215.