Consumer Watchdog Fighting California Medical Malpractice Award Cap
Citing current laws as outdated, consumer education and advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has begun a campaign to do away with California’s cap on damages for pain and loss of enjoyment in medical malpractice lawsuits.
The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which passed in 1975 to combat rising insurance premiums and keep doctors practicing in California, set a cap of $250,000 for all types of damage in malpractice cases other than medical expenses and loss of income. The cap was never indexed to inflation–it has remained at $250,000 since the bill was signed into law more than 35 years ago.
According to the website of these Massachusetts personal injury lawyers, even experienced doctors occasionally fail to obey proper conduct rules and make minor to severe mistakes. In fact, estimates show that as many as 195,000 people die each year due to the negligence of medical professionals. Victims of medical malpractice claim MICRA prevents them from gaining suitable compensation for their resulting injuries, particularly in terms of pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment. These kinds of damages are difficult to monetize, as there is no way to dependably measure the personal cost of losing a limb or becoming sterile.
Consumer Watchdog has stated its intention to add a ballot initiative for the November 2014 election that would update MICRA with a cap indexed to inflation or remove the cap entirely. Support for such an initiative is mixed: according to the Sacramento Business Journal, a recent survey of voters in California showed that more than 50 percent think the $250,000 damages cap is “too high or about right.”
According to spokespeople from Consumer Watchdog, a victim of medical malpractice should not only gain compensation for economic loss, but also for necessary changes in lifestyle and loss of enjoyment. The organization urges anyone who has been injured by medical malpractice to contact an experienced attorney to determine if they are eligible for compensation.