Yet again new federal legislation is attempting to “reform” the parts of the legal system in a way that will do nothing but insulate big business at the expense of nursing home victims. The latest attempt takes the form of H.R. 5-legislation identical to a proposed bill from the last Congress. If passed it would have severe consequences on all Illinois nursing home lawsuits.
The same debunked claims about “cost savings” are being put forward by proponents of the legislation. However, as the American Association for Justice pointed out, the money spent on legal defense in nursing home suits is drastically exaggerated. In addition, all reasonable estimates reveal little to no actual savings can be created by limiting victims’ legal rights. Those arguments act as nothing more than a smokescreen, raising false concerns in order to benefit big insurance and nursing home conglomerates at the expense of regular community members.
This latest bill is particularly troubling because of its large scope-it applies to medical malpractice claims, nursing home claims, and suits against insurance companies. It includes arbitrary caps on non-economic damages, and shortens the statute of limitations on many acts of negligence. It also eliminates joint and several liability and raises pleading standards.
These changes would essentially make it harder for victims to win cases and, even once they’ve been won, harder to collect the entire damage award reached by the jury. Many of these changes preempt state law, meaning that the federal government would be overriding the will of many states, forcing these unfair rules upon them.
Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti reject these misguided efforts to legally handcuff victims. An honest discussion about the countles residents harmed every year by nursing home negligence can never been had if we keep running through the same old attempts to eliminate victim rights. 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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