In a segment on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” (9/15), the immediate past-president of the American Association of Justice, Les Weisbrod, and another past-president, Todd Smith, addressed the notion of placing artificial caps on medical malpractice claims. Weisbrod declared such a cap to be unconstitutional and made the well-known point that there is no evidence to show that such a cap would lower health-care spending. Smith countered the notion that frivolous cases are brought by trial attorneys by stating the obvious–that lawyers have no logical reason whatsoever to take a case with no chance of winning.
Medical malpractice cases are extraordinarily expenses to litigate. As a medical malpractice lawyer, I routinely advance hundreds of thousands of dollars on my clients’ behalf, knowing that if the case fails, I lose all of that money since I never allow my clients to pay me back my advanced expenses in the absence of a favorable resolution. To bring a frivolous suit would not only lead to financial ruin, but it exposes a lawyer to serious sanctions that can be imposed by the presiding judge and the Office of Bar Counsel that oversees attorney conduct. Simply put, the idea that doctors face a barrage of frivolous suits is a myth.
Those with special interests need to recognize that too many Americans are killed or severely and permanently injured as a result of medical errors every year. We need to focus on reducing medical mistakes. The rights of victims of wrongdoing, often the most vulnerable in our nation, should never be stripped or capped.
About the author:
Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a “Big Gun” and among the “top 1%” of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as “one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers” who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions. He has also been named a “DC Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)–a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America. If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.