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Posted at 6:00 PM ET, 02/24/2011

Va. lawmakers vote to raise medical malpractice awards

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

The General Assembly has agreed to raise awards in medical malpractice lawsuits $50,000 each year starting in 2012.

The bill calls for an increase from $2 million starting in 2012 and then $50,000 each year until 2031.

Del. David Albo (R-Fairfax) said he and Sen. Henry Marsh (D-Richmond), both attorneys, helped trial attorneys and doctors negotiate a deal before the session began by telling them that if they didn't work out a compromise, legislators would do it for them.

In the 1970s, the General Assembly capped awards in medical malpractice lawsuits at $750,000. The cap was gradually increased and capped at $2 million in 2008.

Legislators have debated for years whether to increase the amount. Some Democrats have favored an increase, but Republicans have rejected the proposals in the name of tort reform.

The bill now heads to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) for his signature. A spokesman for McDonnell said he will review the legislation.

McDonnell, a lawyer, favored some increases when he was a legislator, but did criticize his Democratic gubernatorial opponent Creigh Deeds for supporting a 1999 bill that would have raised Virginia's cap on medical malpractice settlements from $1 million to $3 million.

By Anita Kumar  | February 24, 2011; 6:00 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, State Senate  
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Comments

How has the economy complicated the medmal claim reserving process for self-insured hospitals? A primer for CFOs http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=3470

Posted by: JEngdahlJ | February 26, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

JEngdahl, I don't have statistics for you but a large percentage of the claims come from low income individuals. As the economy suffers more, the low income jobs are the first to go. However we are also going through a very soft market, meaning there are very few claims in the market. So, hospitals, especially self insured hospitals have a tendency to reserve less as they see their claims declining. The hard market will come back though and when it does it could threaten the amount of surplus that the companies have reserved. It is unusual to go through a soft market when the economy is weak. http://www.equotemd.com/blog
Razia

Posted by: raziagupta | February 27, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

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