Many nursing home residents and their advocates may not be aware that discussion about medical malpractice rules often affects nursing home lawsuits. The limits imposed by these proposals often include cases against negligent nursing home employees. For example, last week we discussed proposed Illinois nursing home law changes that would weaken the rights of residents and their families to hold a bad nursing home accountable for conduct that injured residents.
Because of the connection, it is important for all those who care about the treatment of our vulnerable seniors to work to stop all government efforts to “reform” malpractice rules.
The 7th Amendment Advocate recently explained an overlooked concept in the debate about medical malpractice “reform.” Self-defined “conservatives” are usually the ones calling the loudest for rule changes that would cut away at victim’s right to a jury trial. These same individuals often extol the virtue of limited government, promoting policy concepts that keep decision-making power with states and individuals.
Baffling is how these same conservatives fail to recognize the hypocrisy of advocating for medical malpractice “reform” that does nothing more than create blanket rules at the federal life at the expense of states and individual citizens.
As we have repeatedly emphasized on this blog, the 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is clear in enshrining the unfettered guarantee of a jury trial in essentially all civil trials. It would be logical for all those who respect the freedoms guaranteed by our Founders to fight against any erosion of those freedoms.
The inconsistent principles advocated by these “reformers” are disturbing, suggesting ulterior motives are behind the claims. The situation is all the more unfortunate because the practical consequences of most malpractice legislation is little more than a money grab by the big medical lobby and insurance interests. For example, the current proposal known as H.R. 5 would do nothing to limit medical malpractice; it would impose arbitrary damage awards, change liability rules, and make it much more difficult for injured victims to seek redress from those who harm them carelessly.
Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti fully support the rights of victims to access the court system as promised in the Constitution. We will continue to fight against big business efforts to shut regular Americans out of the process. The nation was founding on principles of equal access to justice made by a jury of the community. We cannot allow that system to be destroyed.
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