Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Non-Punitive Discount

HMO Discount for potential jackpot forfeiture
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Our stupid legal system should allow patients to *contract* with doctors, promising not to sue for punative damages, in exchange for a discount on medical insurance, or treatment.

Patients (or HMO customers) could probably receive a 30% discount on their health services/insurance bill, if they promise to sue only for actual damages, and not for punative damages. Also, you could arrange to have any potential disputes settled through arbitration, and you'd be awarded any actual damages for negligent practice. This arrangement would probably be worth a 60% discont. As an example of actual vs punative damages, you could not sue for $6.7 billion dollars including punative damages, but you will collect $2.1 million in actual damages.

This would be great for people that have to pay for their own healthcare (i.e., Americans). We could also make such arrangements opaque to the doctor or health care provider, to ensure equal quality of treatment between the reasonable and the sue-happy. You'd probably get recompensed for your damages in months, instead of having to wait years and years in court appeals, etc.

Someone should just offer this discount, and when the first patient tries to sue for punative damages, we can have its legality tested once and for all (or until the supreme court reverses itself).

ninehigh, Jun 22 2005


       By "Our stupid legal system," I assume you mean the U.S. legal system.   

       There's nothing in the US code preventing someone from waiving their right to legal redress, including the awarding of punitive damages.
bristolz, Jun 22 2005

       I love the US, but I really don't understand the suing mentality that seems to predominate, particularly when aimed at doctors. Doctors! These people are trying to help you! Surely a more suitable punishment for professional incompetence is suspension/withdrawal of the right to practise medicine.
DocBrown, Jun 22 2005

       Better idea: remove punitive damages entirely and see how many lawsuits are filed. In, say, Scotland, you are not allowed to sue for punitive damages, just for sufficient cash to put you, as far as it reasonably practicable, into the position you would have been in had you not suffered the harm. In medical negligence cases (of which my firm does pure hunners), restitution can be claimed to allow the pursuer to fund medical treatment and lifestyle changes that would not have been required had the harm not happened.
calum, Jun 22 2005

       In NZ there is a government-run corporation (Accident Compensation Corporation) whose responsibility it is to pay for treatment of any injury caused through accident or misadventure (not just work injuries, but sports, etc.). Where injured parties are unable to work, they receive 80% of their income plus medical expenses, and I think there is provision for lump-sum payments in some cases. In return for this, citizens lose the right to sue for personal injury. It isn't perfect, but it certainly keeps the grievance industry leaner than it would be otherwise.
Adze, Jun 22 2005

       Either of those schemes seem better than the one currently in operation in the US. Politically heavyweight bakers stateside take note...
DocBrown, Jun 22 2005


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