Recent legislation seeks to end Virginia medical malpractice damages cap, which is currently set at $2.45 million. According to Law360, this bill being introduced by Virginia State Sen. Bill Stanley (R) comes after attorney Joe Cammarata from Washinton, D.C. rallied bipartisan support of eliminating the cap on damages. Cammarata's motivation for this elimination of the cap on damages comes from his pursuit of justice after his client, referred to as Nancy, sought $35.6 million after a back surgery that ended in catastrophic injuries, resulting in lifelong, around-the-clock care needed for his client. There were $9.5 million of uncontested economic damages in this case, but because of the cap, the client was only awarded with $2.2 million settlement. This injustice is what fueled Cammarata's pursuit of getting this cap canceled.
Rawls Law Group's, Brewster Rawls, is quoted in this Law360 article and shares his thoughts on the removal of the cap on damages of medical malpractice cases in Virginia:
Despite staunch opposition from the health care lobby, Brewster Rawls of Rawls Law Group in Richmond, a plaintiffs attorney specializing in medical malpractice, said that one wild card is that the Virginia General Assembly is controlled by Democrats, while the governor is also a Democrat and a pediatric neurologist who is still licensed but currently on leave from his medical practice, according to state records. "We have a very different legislature in Virginia than we've seen in my lifetime," Rawls said. "Virginia is almost a blue state now. Five years ago, I would've said [the bill would be] dead on arrival, but now I think there's a chance it could happen." Rawls noted that Northam served as a medical expert witness in medical malpractice cases and was the "go-to" plaintiffs witness for shoulder dystocia cases, which occur when a newborn's shoulder becomes obstructed by the mother's pelvis. "He was a hard man to cross-examine, having done so a couple of times," Rawls said, referring to when he served as a defense attorney years ago. "He was a good doctor but also a very effective and savvy witness." Rawls added that he expects the Medical Society of Virginia to rally against the legislation and "fight it tooth and nail." "I'd be shocked, beyond shocked, if they didn't put a full-force effort into doing so," he said.
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