A real slap in the face to patients.
The news shocked the Virginia House and Senate, as word got out that Governor Bob McDonnell vetoed the proposed medical malpractice damages cap increase. Not only were lawmakers surprised by this unexpected turn of events, but trial lawyers, doctors and insurance companies, not to mention the residents of Virginia, were also caught off guard.
Currently, the Commonwealth of Virginia has a medical malpractice damages cap of $2 million. That means if you were hurt by medical malpractice and your medical expenses, lost income and other damages go over $2 million, you are out of luck. While this amount might seem high enough, if you are stuck with a permanent injury or condition, it doesn’t even come close to what you will probably need to cover your lifetime of medical bills, lost wages and more.
The bill that Gov. McDonnell vetoed wasn’t extravagant by any means. It was the result of years of hard work by doctors’ lobbyists, trial lawyers’ lobbyists and patients’ lobbyists. If the bill had been passed, medical malpractice victims would have been able to receive up to $3 million in damages. Keep in mind, this bill would have helped the medical malpractice victims who need this money the most.
The cap increase would have been gradual, going up by $50,000 every year until 2031.
What was so disconcerting about Gov. McDonnell’s actions was that so many people were for this bill, including insurers, attorneys, medical professionals and patients. They had worked tirelessly to come up with some type of cap that would be fair to everyone.
Apparently, our Virginia governor disagreed.
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