Since 1975, California’s MICRA law has placed an arbitrary limit on pain and suffering that stems from personal injury after doctor’s malpractice. The effect of this cap makes a California citizen’s life worth millions of dollars less than residents of other states.
Understanding California’s MICRA Law
California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 places a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering, or “non-economic damages,” that result from medical malpractice by a doctor or other healthcare professional. These types of damages include the devastating consequences of such things as loss of limbs, serious and permanent disfigurement, infertility, chronic pain, blindness or even the loss of a spouse or child. Again, under current California law, these types of catastrophic injures are limited to $250,000, a figure that has not been adjusted for inflation in the nearly forty years since the law was passed. Though complaints of medical malpractice have risen sharply, the damages cap has stayed stagnant.
How California Malpractice Law Stacks Up Against Other States
Victims of malpractice in other states like Illinois have no such limit for pain and suffering. For example, a recent Chicago medical malpractice jury awarded $15,000,000 to a husband whose wife died after a misdiagnosed pregnancy complication and botched C-section. If that man’s wife – a high school teacher – had died in California rather than Illinois, her life would have been devalued by more than 98%.
A Chance to Reform the Law
In November of 2014 California voters will see a Proposition on the ballot aimed at reforming MICRA. This proposition will attempt to index the pain and suffering cap to inflation rather than the arbitrary $250,000. Additionally, the ballot initiative contains a provision to drug test doctors in an attempt to curb rampant abuse and over-prescription of medication.
The attorneys at Russell and Lazarus APC can evaluate your medical malpractice claim and advise you of your best options under the law. Call 949-851-0222 today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.