MCARE – PA Votes Against Caps In Punitive Damages
MCARE Cap Disapproved by Pennsylvania House of Representatives —Victory for Elderly
It’s a big day in Pennsylvania for the elderly living in care facilities. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted down the extension of MCARE. Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act capped judgments against care facilities. This removes limits for punitive damage awards against hospitals, caregivers, and care facilities.
The MCARE Act had a cap in place for medical malpractice lawsuits on punitive damages. The cap was 200% of the compensatory damages award. An amended version of this bill intends to limit the punitive damages to 250%.
Here’s the breakdown:
Compensatory damages are actual monetary damages. This would be actual money you lost after an injury. Compensatory damages are things you can produce a receipt for. Of course, they need to be directly related to an injury or damage. Medical bills, loss of income, and increased living costs are examples of compensatory damages.
Punitive damages are separate from compensatory damages awarded in a lawsuit. In cases of extreme negligence, punitive damages can be awarded to the injured person. Punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault person or company. Additionally, punitive damages are meant to deter the wrongdoer from a repeat offense. This form of compensation is on top of compensatory damages. Usually, punitive damages are calculated using the compensatory damages as a base.
Some examples of what qualifies as punitive damages are:
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain
- Loss of companionship
- Permanent injury
- Physical impairment
Damage caps are a limit set on compensating an injured party. Many believe that damage caps are unfair to the plaintiff. Each case is different and may require more or less punitive damages to compensate for the injury. However, a counter-argument claims the heavy hit to the economy with payouts. Often these punitive damages do not fall under the insurance umbrella.
Victory For The Elderly
Many healthcare facilities are upset over the damage cap reversal. But, this is seen as a victory to the elderly living in these facilities. Removing damage caps actually incentivizes the facilities to adequately train their staff. Additionally, it requires these facilities to improve and maintain a safe facility.
Removing the MCARE Act means nursing homes and healthcare facilities should fear more lawsuits. This fear works to keep them in check. It forces facilities to take safety seriously. When the elderly are hurt or abused, we believe the court of law has a right to hear any evidence and rule a verdict based on the truth.
Experienced Elder Abuse Lawyers
The team here at Kane and Silverman is here to help. If you have concerns about the care of a loved one in an assisted living facility, give us a call. We have the experience to help you get the best results in your situation. Call or text us anytime at 215-232-1000. Or, fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation.
It’s easy. There’s no obligation. Your private consultation is completely free. We don’t charge legal fees unless we recover money for you. Don’t wait, call today.