A California judge presiding over a train crash case that killed 25 people and injured over 100 others stated that the state's cap on damages was forcing him to approve settlements that are inadequate, and that will not fully pay for all medical bills and losses suffered by all the victims of the crash. The train crash occurred when a train conductor passed through a red signal and collided into another train. An investigation of the crash by the National Transportation Safety Board found that the conductor of the train was texting in the moments beforer running the red siganl that caused the crash.
The Judge complained that the state's law capping damage recoveries by the train crash victims was forcing him to make "impossible decisions." In one instance involving a brain damaged victim, the award will only pay for one half of the lifetime medical bills needed for the injured party's necessary medical treatment.
We previously reported on the harmful and unfair effects of caps on damages that can be recovered by victims of negligence. In one particularly painful application of the law capping damages in Maryland, one of our clients who suffered horrific injuries as a result of medical malpractice received a Ten Million Two Hundred Thousand Dollar ($10,200,000.00) judgment, only to see it reduced by the trial court to Six Hundred Thirty-Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($632,500.00) in accordance with Maryland's cap on non-economic damages. These statutes place limits on the amounts of moneys injured victinms can receive when they prove negligence, and were enacted by state legislatures in response to the insurance lobby's claim that such caps were necessary to combat "frivolous and non-meritorius" injury claims that cause insurance premiums to rise, and doctors to stop practicing medicine. These claims have been shown to lack empircal evidence and have harmed many injury victims without any commensurate savings in insurance premiums for consumers, as the proponents of these laws claimed they would do.
If you have any questions regarding Maryland's cap on damage recoveries by victims of negligence and malpractice, feel free to call the lawyers at Clark & Steinhorn.