Letter to the editor: Figure in med-mal article clarified

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//February 22, 2021

Letter to the editor: Figure in med-mal article clarified

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//February 22, 2021

Dear Editor:

I write to ask that you publish an important clarification to your Feb. 8, 2021, article “Med-mal relief bill defeated.”

In the article, you wrote that “Virginia currently has the highest medical malpractice cap of the 29 states that maintain a cap.”  This is inaccurate.  Of the 29 states that employ a cap, 27 of 29 do not cap economic damages (past medical bills, future medical care, and wage loss).  Virginia is one of only two states whose cap applies to economic damages. An accurate statement is that 48 of 50 states place no cap on economic damages in medical malpractice suits.

This is not semantics.  In 48 states, if a patient is catastrophically injured due to medical negligence, the patient is entitled to recover the full cost of his provable future care that stems from the negligence.  Virginia’s cap on economic damages is unique as it shifts this cost to the taxpayers whose taxes fund Medicaid, rather than to the negligent providers.  And because Virginia’s cap applies broadly, this protection even applies to multibillion dollar corporations such as CVS and Walgreens.

The inaccurate statement in your article is a common talking point used by supporters of the cap.  As a trial lawyer who represents catastrophically injured patients, I recognize I have an interest in this matter.  But if we are going to have a fair, open and honest debate about Virginia’s medical malpractice cap, we owe it to each other and to the public to be accurate about this issue.

Scott M. Perry
Arlington

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