New Medical Malpractice Legislation: How Does It Impact You?

Despite its name, H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act, will not preserve your access to healthcare services. Rather, it will limit your ability to seek compensation for your damages resulting from acts of healthcare provider negligence, including acts of sexual assault by healthcare providers and claims against medical device manufacturers following injuries caused by defective devices. Currently, there are no caps on the amount of compensation medical malpractice claimants can receive in New York. This bill seeks to impose a $250,000 cap on compensation for pain and suffering damages nationwide.

The Protecting Access to Care Act

This bill comes along with other Republican-backed healthcare reforms, such as the American Health Care Act of 2017, that seek to reform the current healthcare policies in place. This bill’s stated goal is to lower the costs of healthcare by decreasing healthcare providers’ liability levels. A few ways it aims to do this include:

  • Creating a statute of limitations of three years following the date of the injury or one year from the injury’s discovery, whichever event comes first, for all qualifying medical malpractice claims;
  • Requiring courts to supervise the payment of damages to claimants;
  • Permitting courts to restrict attorney contingency fees;
  • Prohibiting healthcare providers who prescribe or dispense medical products approved, licensed, or cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from being held liable in class action claims against the manufacturer, retailer, or distributor of a dangerous product; and
  • Limiting compensation for non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims to $250,000.

The bill also contains language stating that this law, if passed, would not preempt state laws requiring certain other caps and regulations on compensation. For example, the section that discusses the payment of future damages to claimants states that settlements of $50,000 or more may be made to the claimant in periodic payments, but this will not preempt state laws with similar requirements in place.

What Can I Do to Protect my Rights?

As a voter, it is important to make your voice heard. Contact your congressional representative to urge him or her to vote on H.R. 1215. Currently, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It would be inappropriate to further limit patients’ rights now, when this issue is killing and injuring tens of thousands of Americans each year.

If you are injured because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, seek corrective care to restore your health to a stable level. Then, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in a timely manner to determine your rights and options for pursuing compensation for your medical expenses and other damages.

Work with an Experienced New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have been injured or suffered a worsened condition because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages through a medical malpractice claim. To learn more about seeking compensation this way, contact our team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC today to schedule your initial, free consultation with a member of our firm.