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Pennsylvania bill seeks limits on medical malpractice awards

Some individuals feel that awards given to families after lawsuits actually limit the ability of nursing homes to give effective care. A bill has been introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature that would limit awards for punitive damages for medical malpractice lawsuits. A recent news story gives more information about the bill, which revises a 2002 law called Mcare.

Mcare, or the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act, set definitions of punitive care amongst its guidelines. Since then, some individuals felt that nursing homes were hindered by frivolous lawsuits and exorbitant punitive damage awards. The new bill, introduced this March, will set limits on the amounts that can be awarded.

The bill does not limit awards for compensatory damages for individuals who may have been harmed. Compensatory damages also include claims for pain and suffering. Lawmakers feel that by placing limits on the punitive damages, the bill will reduce the negative effects of heavy litigation and shift resources back to improving patient care. 

Since in a medical malpractice lawsuit the punitive damages are generally awarded to the plaintiff, this bill can affect the sum awarded to an individual who has been harmed while under the care of a nursing home in Pennsylvania. Lawmakers continue to hash out and argue the details of the bill, which has not yet been written into law. Individuals who believe that they are victims of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania nursing homes have a right to seek an attorney for guidance on how best to file their medical malpractice claim. 

Source: pennrecord.com, "Rep. Kampf says HB1037 would 'reduce frivolous litigation' against nursing facilities", Olivia Olsen, July 31, 2017

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