California’s Cap on Medical Malpractice Settlement Rewards

Citizens of California have long been fighting to have the cap on the amount a victim of medical malpractice raised. Many victims and victim’s advocates feel the existing amount does not always cover the damages. There has been a renewed vigor in the fight in 2013. An initiative has recently been filed recently to raise the cap on medical malpractice rewards.

The Consumer Attorneys of California and Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog lead a coalition that has filed and initiative to raise the $250,000 cap on medical malpractice cases. They have aggressively lobbied the Legislature claiming most victims experience quite a bit more than the cap can pay for.

The current cap was instituted in 1975 and has been in place ever since. The initiative brings attention to the outdated amount and the progression of expenses in these cases through the years.  The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act is no longer relevant to current day malpractice damages and the costs they incur. Also mentioned, capping medical malpractice cases discourages attorneys from taking them on.

Another leader in the initiative is Robert S. Pack. Mr. Pack’s two children were killed in an accident with a driver under the influence of drugs.  The driver received the drugs by prescription from an irresponsible and careless doctor, according to Pack. Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court is quoted as saying "He sued Kaiser and found out that his kids' lives were worth $250,000 each, simply because he was suing a doctor.”

The proposition was submitted for title and summary to the office of the attorney general in July of 2013. To pass, it needs petitions with legal signatures from 504,760 registered voters in agreement.  It hopes to change the cap that exists on only noneconomic damages from medical malpractice. In comparison to healthcare prices in 1975, todays costs for a similar situation would be near one million dollars.

The bill also stipulates that doctors be mandatorily drug tested as well as alcohol screened. It also proposes the use of an electronic database to track prescriptions throughout California. Robert Pack feels especially strong on this point. The value of the victim’s life cannot have a cap. An innocent victim is priceless.

The driver who killed Mr. Pack’s children had been stockpiling prescriptions doctors had been overprescribing him for years. He had practiced ‘doctor shopping’ and had several running prescriptions from several doctors. He had several thousand prescriptions when he was driving the car that hit Mr. Pack’s children as they were walking down the road.

Not only did Mr. Pack suffer the loss of his two children but also the twins his wife was carrying who was also injured in the accident. He, and others like him, demand more recognition be given to the pain and suffering of the victims and their families in medical malpractice cases.

Many healthcare providers, doctors, hospitals and clinics have formed their own coalition against the proposed law. They say it is nothing other than a ploy from attorneys to gain more money. They also claim such a law would drive up the already astronomical costs of healthcare.

If the proposed law passes it will raise the current amount of a lawsuit payout to $1.1 million which will also rise with the cost of inflation over the years. Currently, there is no cap on the amount of economic factors like lost wages and medical bills.

If you’ve found yourself in a medical malpractice case, time is of the essence. California’s Statute of Limitations places a time limit on malpractices cases that is irrefutable. Contact Moseley Collins immediately for the best chance at a successful settlement reward.


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