Legislation to set limits on how much attorneys can retain in medical malpractices cases passed the Kentucky Senate Thursday 20 to 16.
The measure establishes a 33 percent limit on attorneys’ fees. Bill sponsor Ralph Alvarado, a physician, says it’s not a medical provider protection bill, but offers benefit to those filing civil suits. “The lawyers will run up the cost. They’ll take a big chunk of that, 48 to 50 percent and the person that’s been wronged is left with a congratulations, you won, but you only got a small amount of award out of this. This at least protects people to get at least 2/3 of that award,” said Alvarado. “They’ve been wronged, it doesn’t help the providers, it doesn’t help the hospitals.”
Speaking against the bill was Pike County Senator Ray Jones who said the bill is intended to prevent people from getting attorneys by placing limitations on negotiating fees. Jones claimed in his floor speech the bill actually shields doctors. “This is basically posturing and again another attempt to unconstitutionally infringe upon the rights of Kentuckians who are injured by medical errors,” argued Jones.
The bill heads on to the House now for its consideration.