After collecting some 840,000 signatures, supporters of a measure seeking to increase the limit on pain and suffering damages have successfully placed the initiative on California's November ballot. The initiative would increase the limit on pain and suffering damages from $250,000 to $1.1 million, and would tie future increases to inflation. Doctors would also be required to under go random drug tests and physician would be required to use a state prescription drug database.
The cap has cost victims tens of millions of dollars over the last four decades since it was first introduced back in 1975 as a measure to reduce medical malpractice insurance premiums and keep doctors from fleeing the state. However, despite this stated purpose, the effect of the cap has been to deny some of those who have suffered catastrophic injures as the result of medical negligence true justice, while the "savings" to insurance premiums has never come to fruition.
As Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers, we have seen first hand the challenges to families affected by medical malpractice, and the difficulty some families have obtaining justice for their loved ones who have been harmed by medical errors.
The current cap limits recovery on non-economic damages – those damages that compensate an individual for intangible harm such as living with a lifetime of pain or the emotional devastation of a child's death. These caps unfairly target victims of medical malpractice. Individuals harmed in other negligent acts – such as car accidents – do not face similar restrictions on recovery. The initiative would not eliminate all limits on such damages, but simply raise the ceiling to account for inflation since 1975. Such change is necessary to restore fairness to those injured as a result of the negligent or reckless conduct of doctors.
For more information, or if you or a loved one has been harmed as the result of medical malpractice, please contact the experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.