The rights of Iowans recently took a beating with the passage of legislation by the Iowa Senate that will limit and cap certain types of damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.
The statute of limitations for injured patients who may have medical malpractice cases to file their claim is currently set at two years – the clock starts ticking when the harmful acts are committed.
There are few exceptions to the statute of limitations – a particularly important exclusion is the discovery of the harm. If the patient’s harm was not easily or reasonably discoverable, the patient may have more time.
Senate bill 465 specifically seeks to limit medical malpractice lawsuits. The conversation surrounding the rights of patients to seek compensation for behavior and actions that harm Iowans has been hotly debated for some time. The discussions surrounding malpractice lawsuits have centered on the balance between the rights of patients and the state’s ability to attract physicians.
According to Senator Charles Schneider, R-West Des Moines, Iowa ranks 43 nationally for doctor-patient ratio. Schneider said this is partially due to high liability insurance premiums, which are substantially more than neighboring states. He added that 35 states have caps on medical liability and Iowa needs to “make our malpractice climate more inviting,” to physicians.
Stakeholders and supporters of 465 included:
- Iowa Hospital Association
- Iowa Medical Society
- A myriad of physician-oriented organizations
Senator Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines was vehemently opposed to 465, calling the provision “heartless.” He reminded the community that major errors by medical providers have created catastrophic injuries for many in the community.
The Iowa Association for Justice (IAJ), contends that medical malpractice lawsuits are declining, in fact, the number has fallen by nearly 39 percent in the past ten years.
IAJ also reports that medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death for Iowans. Information from the Heartland Health Research Institute indicates that 25 percent of all hospital admissions result in a medical blunder.
Organizations that opposed the bill included:
- Iowa Association for Justice
- Iowa Bar Association
- Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers
- Assorted justice and human rights organizations
If you or a loved one have been injured and you believe that medical malpractice may have been a factor, please call the law offices of Eells & Tronvold immediately.
In adverse incidents – when a mistake results in contrary events – the doctor or health care provider must discuss the incident with the patient in an open forum and tell the patient how they will avoid or prevent similar incidents moving forward.
The provider may or may not offer compensation to the patient, if they feel it is warranted.
Under 465, non-economic damages will be capped at $250,000 – however, if you can show that a patient dies, loses major bodily functions or is substantially disfigured, that cap goes away.
Non-economic damages include but are not limited to:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
- Emotional pain and suffering
465 was signed by the governor last year.
Medical malpractice can create severe health and financial problems for you and your family. Missed work, medical bills – we understand that the impact of malpractice can wreck you finances and your physical health. We will aggressively help you fight for fair compensation and a favorable settlement.
Please call 319-393-1020 to schedule your free consultation today. To learn more about injury claims, please visit Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, PLC.
Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, PLC
1921 51st Street NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402