The LA Times recently reported on a California ballot initiative that seeks to raise caps on medical malpractice damages for pain and suffering and to require physicians to undergo drug testing. The initiative, known as Proposition 46, seeks to raise the nearly forty–year-old cap on non-economic damages in medical negligence cases from $250,000 to $1.1 million. Going forward, the cap would be indexed to inflation.
Those supporting the initiative seek to modify a law that has limited injured victims’ access to the courts. The low cap relative to the high cost of litigation means that even when doctors are negligent, injured victims may not be able to recover for their injuries. Those opposed think that the bill will increase medical costs, despite evidence that damage caps do not make much difference in healthcare costs.
Since 1975, California has had a cap limiting the awards on non-economic awards, also known as pain and suffering, that injured patients can recover in medical malpractice lawsuits. Supporters of Proposition 46 say that the cap makes it economically unfeasible for lawyers to take many such cases.
The Official voter Information Guide in favor of Proposition 46 notes that the new law “saves lives. It prevents substance abuse by doctors and patients and holds negligent doctors accountable. Estimates show 18% of health professionals have an abuse problem in their lifetimes. Medical negligence is this country’s third largest cause of death. Prescription drug overdoses are epidemic. A cure is overdue. Vote Yes.”
The medical negligence attorneys at Lopez McHugh can discuss your California medical malpractice lawsuit as well as cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. If you suffered a significant injury or a loved one died because of negligent medical care, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your legal options. There is no cost or obligation for the initial consultation and your information will be kept confidential.