Friday, April 27, 2012

New Hampshire Considers Early Offer Settlement Bill

Former NH Superior Court and Supreme Court judge Chuck Douglas has weighed in on the controversial SB 406 a bill to provide "early offer" settlements as a way to expedite medical malpractice settlements. According to Douglas in an opinion piece in, the legislation,
"runs counter to the way we value life in this state. Under the proposal, a hospital or other provider can kill a patient and the compensation is only $117,500.... Furthermore, the bill is premised on the fact that elderly folks on Social Security who have no earned income, or stay-at-home moms who have no income, are not worth paying for pain and suffering. The bill covers payments only for lost wages. If you have no lost wages, your loss of enjoyment of life is worth zero."
Douglas further writes...
"The bill was drafted by a Virginia professor and has a payout formula like workers' compensation schedules. An example of what would probably be considered a low-end payment under the formula for a "permanent injury involving minor harm" ($29,750) is an article that appeared in the Union Leader on March 30 describing how a nurse cut off a child's finger after the 8-month-old arrived at a hospital with a chest infection. They could not reattach the tiny finger that the nurse mistakenly cut off. That permanent life-long mutilation would only be worth $29,750 according to SB 406 — less than $500 per year over the life (expectancy) of the child. That does not begin to compensate the child, in my opinion."
You can read his full opinion here: Hard to make choices blindfolded.

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