Should the Government Be Protecting Nursing Homes from Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Guy Boulton and Jason Stein wrote an article for JSonline.com recently on a proposed bill in Wisconsin that would severely affect the compensation that personal injury lawyers can attain for injured people.
In an effort to protect businesses from lawsuits, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has proposed statewide legislation that would protect Nursing homes from Punitive damages and pain and suffering claims. The proposed bill would put a $750,000 cap on pain and suffering and would limit punitive damages, as well as making it more difficult for personal injury attorneys to win or settle a case in the injured person’s favor.
Whenever an incident resulting in injury occurs in a nursing home the state of Wisconsin requires an incident report be filed. The proposed bill aims to prevent these public records from being used in court, claiming that witnesses are less likely to guard their words without the threat of being called to court.
The proposed cap on punitive damages and non-economic damages would put Personal Injury Lawyers at a disadvantage when negotiating a settlement, because the nursing home would have no risk of a jury awarding a multimillion dollar award, if the case goes to trial.
Lawsuits against Nursing homes do not just come out of the air. Neglect, abuse or injury has to occur before a lawsuit can be filed. A more appropriate way to stabilize insurance would be for nursing homes to properly care for their patients. If there is no malpractice there can be no lawsuit and if there is no lawsuit, insurance will not be affected.
The Wisconsin state senate passed the bill on January 18th, and the assembly could vote on the bill as early as January 20th.