Bill Would Triple Noneconomic Damage Cap

Noneconomic Damages

The Maryland Chamber opposes legislation that would create a new definition for “catastrophic injury,” in civil action for both personal injury and medical malpractice cases and triple the noneconomic damage cap in those cases. 

“The Maryland Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes this bill which we have designated a priority bill,” Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Mathew Palmer said. “This bill would greatly increase property and casualty insurance premiums on business at a time when they are just beginning to recover from what most economists have said is the worst recession that our nation has faced.”

Employers would also feel the effects of increased health care costs associated with this bill.  At a time when the state and federal government is attempting to reduce health care costs and ensure that all citizens receive health insurance coverage, this legislation would only serve to increase costs significantly. Not only would malpractice insurance premiums increase which would be borne by the physicians or the hospitals, but this bill would force physicians to perform even more defensive medicine to attempt to ensure that they can defend themselves against what is sure to be increasing litigation.

Palmer was joined by Cary Silverman on behalf of the American Tort Reform Association (see video above) and Carville Collins, a Partner with DLA Piper, representing the Maryland Tort Reform Coalition.  

Collins reminded committee members of the medical malpractice crisis that led to emergency legislation in 2004. “Why ever would we want to discard the reforms and advances that were derived from the 2004 special session, such as stabilization of insurance premiums, predictable outcomes in negligence claims, greater access to health care and reasonable, escalating compensation for true victims of negligence.”

The House version of the bill was heard last week and the Senate version was heard today, March 5. For more information, contact Mathew Palmer at mpalmer@mdchamber.org

Legislative Issues Tag: Civil Liability

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