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No one expects to become paralyzed, but when it happens, the physical devastation can quickly leave a family drowning in debt. If the paralysis is due to medical negligence, the victim has the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking compensation for damages.

A man arrived at the ER with severe neck pain and numbness in his arms and legs. A doctor diagnosed his condition as neck strain and released the man from the hospital. A few hours later, the man became completely paralyzed from the chest down. He returned to the hospital where he was left untreated for almost two more hours. He filed a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging negligence. According to evidence presented at trial, the man suffered from a herniated disk that was compressing his spinal cord and causing progressive neurologic injury. Now, he will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair; he is unable to walk, run, run a bike, or work. The jury awarded the plaintiff $15 million; $10 million of which was for non-economic damages.

Tort reform strikes again!

Although this case demonstrates how our justice system did the right thing, this victim’s compensation is limited to $300,000 for pain and suffering, impairment and disfigurement under a Colorado “damage caps” law against health care providers. For years, the US Chamber of Commerce, insurance companies and other huge corporate interests have spent millions to prevent individual citizens from holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions yet they utilize the court system and political campaign contributions to advance their own selfish agendas. Sometimes, the circumstances of a catastrophic injury or death require an award of millions for the injured person's sustenance, but that doesn't matter to the pro-insurance group (some of your own legislators, most often, Republicans, are part of this group-remember that the next time you step into the voting booth). This is what happens when politics infringe on our justice system.

The injustices of damage caps strip away the rights of innocent victims. They permit wrongdoers to escape accountability and deny victims fair compensation. Tort reform simply makes well-to-do corporate types even more well-to-do, at significant expense to taxpayers and to the injured and disabled. It is the victims who pay, and twice: with significant sacrifice to health and safety, then because they cannot sustain themselves, financially, on the reduced financial rewards that tort reform mandates.

Plaintiff attorneys are the last defense; they are the reason the Ford Pinto is off the road, that asbestos is no longer used, that unsafe prescription medications are recalled, and that cigarettes come with warning labels. The American Association for Justice (AAJ) supports the work of plaintiff attorneys in their efforts to safeguards victims' rights and ensuring that any person who is injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in America’s courtrooms, even when taking on the most powerful interests.

It is your life, your future, your injury and your right to pursue justice. The only way to combat a corporate takeover of our civil justice system is to vote for pro-justice candidates and against anti-justice candidates who take campaign money from corporate interests. If you are not familiar with the devastating effects of tort reform, I encourage you to do your research. Only you, the people, can stop this nonsense. Vote against tort reform; vote for your Constitutional rights! There is strength in numbers; join the American Association for Justice in its fight for the rights of all citizens. You have the power; use it!

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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