Possibly Unconstitutional Cap Reduces West Virginia Couple’s Malpractice Award

December 1, 2010 – West Virginia – A couple’s award in a medical malpractice lawsuit has been reduced to less than a third of their rightful $1.5 million because of a medical malpractice award cap.  James MacDonald was given several medications during his stay at a West Virginia hospital. These medications caused MacDonald to develop rhabdomyolysis, a disease that causes the breakdown of muscle fibers and their release into the bloodstream.  MacDonald and his wife then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. When the case went before a jury, the jury awarded the MacDonalds $1.5 million for pain and suffering along with $129,000 for medical expenses and lost wages. In addition, his wife was awarded $500,000. This award was immediately reduced by the state to just $500,000 to be split between the couple.  In 1986, West Virginia signed in a law to cap the possible awards for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases. Originally, the cap was at $1 million, but has since been reduced to $250,000 with the occasional exception of $500,000 for very severe cases. This cap applies to cases involving multiple plaintiffs as well; multiple plaintiffs must split the $500,000 whether there are 10 plaintiffs or 50.  The MacDonalds have appealed their case to the West Virginia Supreme Court. They argue that the cap is unconstitutional as it interferes with the right to trial by jury and prevents the jury from making the ultimate decision in the case. Similar caps have already been declared unconstitutional in Illinois and Georgia.

Contacting a New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer

When you have sustained a serious injury or lost a loved because of medical negligence you are entitled to seek compensation for your damages and suffering. Consulting with a New York medical malpractice lawyer can help you better understand your rights, determine liability for your injuries, and decide if filing a medical malpractice claim is right for you.  At Gacovino Lake & Associates we have formed a dedicated network of medical malpractice lawyers that serve clients nationwide. Our New York office serves residents of the 5 boroughs with their auto accident, medical malpractice, defective drug, premises liability, and Workers’ Compensation claims. For experienced help with your medical malpractice claim, contact us today– 1-800-246-4878.


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