“Runaway jury verdicts” make headlines and convey the impression that the tort system is merely a means of wealth redistribution…law.com, Call for Caution on Med Mal Reform By Law Journal Editorial Board, December 30, 2022
There is no dispute over the fact that actual harm has been done to the plaintiffs, but pundits regularly decry what they perceive as an excess of awards as compared with the physical damage. They blame juries for being too generous with other people’s (more to the point, insurance companies’) money.
It is perhaps this sentiment that informs a proposed bill introduced by Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-Bergen/Hudson) to cap non-economic damages (e.g., pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, and/or disfigurement) awarded in medical malpractice cases.
S-3343 would limit such awards to a total of $250,000 collectively against individual defendants and to $250,000 collectively against all health-care facility defendants, irrespective of the number of defendants joined in the case.
It also proposes to set limits on contingency fees recovered by plaintiffs’ attorneys. The bill was introduced at the beginning of December and has since been referred to the Judiciary Committee.