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Michigan lawmakers are considering more medical malpractice reform that would make it even harder (trust me; it is difficult enough!) to successfully sue doctors. Senate Bills 1115 – 1118, known as the “Patients First Reform" package basically, provides almost total immunity to negligent doctors who commit medical malpractice. For example, Senate Bill 1116 states “a health care professional or facility would not be liable if the doctor acted with reasonable and good-faith belief that the conduct was well founded in medicine and in the patient’s best interests.” The plaintiff would be required to prove that a doctor’s mistake was intentional. And, Senate Bill 1115 would reduce the amount of damages that could be awarded and other aspects of the package would limit the time period for suing on behalf of a deceased patient. In other words, the Patients First Reform package would virtually eliminate the rights of innocent victims and their families to hold negligent doctors accountable; citizens would have no recourse to seek compensation for their negligence.

This bill represents yet another round of Michigan Tort Reform. It seems that greedy corporations and medical professionals cannot get enough freedom to injure, maim, and kill Michigan citizens. I presume they won’t stop until they get protection from being held accountable for any and all wrongdoing. With this current bill, the tort reformers want you to believe that would encourage more doctors to practice here. But, Michigan has no shortage and who in their right mind would want more negligent doctors to set up shop in Michigan? Texas made these types of changes and argued that more doctors would choose Texas. All the citizens of Texas got in return was far less rights to pursue the negligent conduct of medical professionals and far more bad doctors.

Supporters say that tort reform would protect doctors from “frivolous” lawsuits and help contain rising medical costs. If this was true, why does tort reform almost always take the form of damage caps or elimination of liability for SERIOUS incidents? The system will not and can not prevent the frivolous by seeking to eliminate the serious. All of us, including medical professionals should be held accountable for our mistakes. Otherwise, we just leave the taxpayers holding the bag for the physical and financial ruin left behind by the perpetrator. Despite cries of “frivolous lawsuits” and “lawsuit abuse”, these smaller cases are not the problem. Attorneys will not invest time and money in a frivolous lawsuit; the system prevents them from doing so. A judge can prematurely dismiss the frivolous case and penalize the attorney who brings it. If it goes to trial, it will fail, and the judge will then assess costs. Pursuing a frivolous (by definition, worthless) case simply makes no economic sense. Shouldn’t we be holding doctors to the highest standard of care while protecting our citizens from the conduct of bad doctors?

Michigan residents, do you want your state to become a safe haven for dangerous doctors? Any of us are just one incident, one moment, from being a statistic, another catastrophically injured, under-compensated, accident victim. When tort reform bails out these wrongdoers, taxpayers end up with the bill. Sacrifice your rights today and these anti-citizen tort reformers will want more rights sacrificed tomorrow; it will never be enough until you have NO rights. Many victims are left in financial ruin because the responsible party was immune from responsibility because of some form of “tort reform”.

You outrank these corporately controlled politicians. You have the power of the vote; you can throw these bums out of office. Don’t wait until it is you or your loved one. Whoever is reading this post, whether in Michigan, or anywhere else in this country, find out where your candidates for public office stand on a citizen's right to justice in personal injury and medical malpractice cases. If a candidate stands for tort reform; if he or she stands for denying you the right to sue for your injuries and collect what a judge or a jury, fairly, rules they are worth, I urge you to vote for the other guy. Tell you friends and family to do the same. Together, we can stand for justice, or, we can stand on the sidelines and watch our precious rights being diminished, one by one, year after year. At Lawsuit Financial, we say: “Enough is enough”.

Mark Bello has thirty-five years experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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