June 5, 2011

It was not that long ago that very few states in the U.S. had restrictions on the amount that injured persons could be compensated for their losses due to the negligent conduct of others. Now, a majority of states limit recoveries for severely injured persons.

Social justice used to be a major principle of American society. People used to take great pride and considered it to be a part of a person’s good moral character to admit to one’s mistakes and to take full responsibility for their actions. Now, many people tend to blame others for their own bad deeds.


A more sinister explanation for the trend towards limiting tort recoveries and thereby shifting the financial costs of bad acts from the wrongdoers to their victims is known by the German word “Schadenfreude.” Schadenfreude is when one takes pleasure in the misfortune of others. One example that comes to mind is the television show that promotes videos sent in by viewers in which people are shown  being injured by baseballs to the groin, people skiing into trees, people falling off of trampolines, etc., at which the studio audience laughs hysterically. The relatively recent phenomonum of reality TV shows in which participants back-stab each other to win a financial prize is endemic of the growing acceptance of Schadenfreude among Americans.  How is Schadenfreude exhibited in medical malpractice cases? By our blind acceptance of the laws passed by our state political representatives who have hijacked our inherent right to be fully compensated for our legitimate losses caused by the medical negligence of health care providers. 

Like Sheep Being Led To Slaughter

Some people simply do not care about restrictions on financial recoveries for injuries caused by the negligence of others because they believe that the restrictions will never affect them. It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” We say, ” those who allow others to limit the rights of people to be fully compensated for their losses caused by someone else’s negligent conduct have no right to complain when they are left homeless because of their unpaid medical bills and losses when they are seriously injured by another.”  (We know our quote is wordy and not as pithy as Mr. Franklin’s quote, but it does express how we feel.)

Why would anyone in the U.S., which is the land of the free and the home of the brave, remain silent when their rights are being trampled and restricted? Maybe because we have lost our way — our shores were once the welcomed sight for many thousands of immigrants during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries who were fleeing oppression and tyranny in their home countries in exchange for the lofty promise of freedom and bounty in the U.S. , as expressed by the words inscribed on the Statute of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York Harbor: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Those words and our ideals were worth fighting for, at great expense and with even greater loss of life, during two world wars and other conflicts.  We shutter to think what our immediate ancestors, “the greatest generation,” would think if they were told that their hard-won victories have descended into our present willingness to exchange our civil right to full compensation  for losses incurred as the result of others’ negligent actions or omissions for insurance companies’ savings and profits.

Are we being over-dramatic? Perhaps, but someone needs to shock us back to the reality that we are giving up long-held rights and principles for inadequate and misguided false returns.

In order to maximize your chances of receiving adequate compensation for your egregious injuries that resulted from medical malpractice, visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in your local area to assist you with your medical malpractice claim or call us toll free at 800-295-3959