Nev. Approves Compromise on Medical Malpractice

August 2, 2002

A compromise to trim doctors’ medical malpractice insurance rates by imposing a $350,000 cap on lawsuit awards was approved early Thursday by Nevada lawmakers.

The session had been ordered by Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn to try to bring a halt to a health care crisis caused by big increases in malpractice insurance premiums.

The crisis got so drastic that a number of doctors were limiting their practices or even leaving the state. Nevada’s top trauma center located in Las Vegas, shut down for 10 days last month.

Guinn noted the approved plan will help keep doctors in the state because they can look forward to lower rates in a few years.

The approved agreement left out many of the exceptions to the $350,000 cap that had been in the first compromise that failed to gain support, including cases of death, brain damage, paraplegia, blindness, loss of limbs and permanent sterility.

In such cases, lawsuits would have been allowed up to the maximum on a doctor’s policy—generally $1 million.

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