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Tort reform and damage caps: Really, a crisis?

The subject of so-called "tort reform" is front and center in a recent online article focusing on an alleged medical malpractice crisis that grips the nation.

In that media commentary, the author makes this quick and preliminary point regarding that crisis: It is essentially a fiction and greatly over-hyped by one particular industry that profits greatly from pedaling misinformation.

Namely, that is the medical malpractice insurance industry, described as a "powerful and wealthy" group of actors that "pad their profits by scaring the public and politicians ... to vote for and pass reform legislation that will deny legitimate victims of medical malpractice fair compensation."

Such legislation is called tort reform, which, in many states, imposes damage caps on victims injured by shoddy medical care.

Reform advocates -- chiefly the aforementioned insurers, along with medical groups and some industry-aligned politicians -- laud the recovery limitations.

Conversely, many critics of caps -- including plaintiffs' malpractice attorneys -- note the unfair and harsh outcomes they produce for victims of doctor negligence and their families. Moreover, it is often noted that barring the courtroom doors to many malpractice actions and meaningful recoveries simply enables problem -- read dangerous -- doctors to continue inflicting substandard care on patients.

Arizona is among a select minority of states in which damage caps in civil malpractice cases are explicitly prohibited under state law.

Although that is of course good news for malpractice victims, it bears noting that some conditions and restrictions regarding medical negligence recoveries do exist in Arizona, such as a statute of limitations that places time limits on the commencement of a legal claim.

Malpractice cases are often detailed, highly technical and complex. A malpractice victim and his or her family having questions or concerns might reasonably want to contact a proven malpractice attorney without delay for candid advice and diligent legal representation.

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