Virginia Medical Malpractice Cap: Va. Code Ann. §8.01-581.15 – a Lawyer’s Claim

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Senate Bill 843 failed to pass the 2009 Virginia General Assembly. It was defeated by the wealthy powerful healthcare industry, including the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (“VHHA”), which represents the one hundred leading hospitals and other healthcare institutions in Virginia.

Va. Code Ann. §8.01-581.15, the so-called “medical malpractice cap,” limits the amount that any victim patient actually can recover from an offending healthcare provider, regardless how much appropriately is awarded by a jury or judge at trial. Virginia’s cap has been fixed at $2,000,000.00 since July 1, 2008.

Virginia’s medical malpractice cap is protectionist special interest legislation of healthcare providers, which no other citizen of Virginia enjoys. It inequitably limits the fair compensation awarded by juries and judges to victim patients who have been injured most profoundly by nursing home abuse and other medical malpractice.

The VHHA and other healthcare providers successfully lobbied against increasing the current inequitable limit of victim compensation for nursing home abuse and other medical malpractice. In fact, if the VHHA and others in the health industry had their way, the amount recoverable by victim patients would be decreased regardless how disabling and otherwise severe the injuries inflicted upon them.

Indeed, as a foil to Senate Bill 843, health industry proponents sought passage of their own special interest legislation, House Joint Resolution 658. That would have commissioned a sub-committee to study the supposed “current and impending severe shortage” of medical doctors ostensibly due to “the effect of excessive malpractice insurance premiums, malpractice laws and caps…”.