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Jury trials are integral to medical malpractice suits

Preventable medical errors claim 440,000 lives in the U.S. every year. Incidents of abuse and neglect in nursing homes across America are rising along with the number of Americans aged 65 and older. Seniors will represent one in five Americans by 2030, and seniors require more chronic medical care.

The last line of defense in the case of injurious, disabling or fatal medical malpractice is a jury trial, in which a plaintiff sues a defendant under civil law for financial damages. The outcome is largely determined by a selected jury, within the instructions of the judge.

Patients' and survivors' rights to a jury trial have been challenged in recent law change proposals at the federal level. A recent proposal would limit jury-awarded damages to $250,000, regardless of the wrongful death or medical malpractice case.

Arguments to maintain jury rights are plenty. The greatest is perhaps that the possibility of jury trials deter medical professional negligence and offer victims of possible accidents a chance to be made whole.

Where medical negligence and abuse occur, the drive for profit is almost always the cause. Administrators may forego background checks to make a cheap or quick hire or staff inappropriately. This leaves patients vulnerable to neglect by subclinical staff and failure to cooperate with clinical staff, which can cost lives.

Victims of medical malpractice and the loved ones of those lost in hospital and clinical mishaps have rights that protect them and offer compensation and damages. An attorney can help identify the best strategies to proceed towards a settlement or civil trial.

Source: The Commercial Appeal, "Protect patients, not insurance companies," Sadler Bailey, Sep. 28, 2017

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