Many of my friends are unaware of the “special protection” enjoyed by physicians and hospitals in Virginia. For example, if one of my friends gets drunk and kills a father (with an unemployed wife and 4 children) in an automobile accident…a jury may award full and complete damages to the family for their loss. Those damages include not only pain and suffering and the loss of a loved family member, but also compensation to the family for the loss of their father’s income. Lets say he earned $65,000 per year and expected to work another 35 years – it adds up to a very large number!
Now, compare what happens when a doctor’s negligence results in the wrongful death of her patient or (worse) results in the patient becoming comatose for the remaining 30 years of their life and requiring $150,000 per year in medical care. In this case the family who lost their father doesn’t recover the full measure of their damages…they are limited by law in Virginia (the cap for negligence occurring today is $2 million).
It is not fair and it is not necessary! The cap on damages in medical malpractice cases is wrong! Kudos to the Roanoke Times for shinning light on this unfair law. It is time to treat doctors and hospitals just like everyone else!