California residents are planning to gather signatures in the hopes of updating a medical malpractice law that dates back 38 years. California law currently caps non-economic pain and suffering awards at $250,000. The controversy surrounding this law has now been revived in the state capitol.
Although there is no cap for economic losses, the $250,000 cap on non-economic losses is regarded as a serious problem by many in California. Non-economic losses may refer to damages for suffering due to physical stress, emotional stress, pain, disfigurement, and even lost enjoyment or lost ability to partake in normal physical activity.
Advocates want the cap to rise to $1 million for non-economic losses caused by medical malpractice, increasing with inflation thereafter, according to a news report.
These supporters plan to gather enough signatures in order to have the measure go before California voters on the November 2014 ballot.
Of course, there is opposition to this measure, according to the Los Angeles Times report. Insurers as well as doctors and hospitals are not in favor of raising the cap on non-economic medical malpractice. They say the increased cap would effectively raise health care costs for all.
Whether or not the cap is ultimately changed, it remains important for victims of medical malpractice to seek legal guidance in order to pursue the compensation that may be available. The effects of medical malpractice can be lifelong, and it is crucial for victims to be compensated appropriately and for negligent parties to be held accountable for their actions.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Battle flares over 38-year-old medical malpractice law,” Marc Lifsher, July 14, 2013