In 1975, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act. The measure insured that victims of medical malpractice could only receive a maximum of $250,000 in damages. That may not have been enough in some cases, but at the time, that kind of money went a long way.
Flash-forward to 2015. Now medical costs, especially costs for life-altering injuries, can easily exceed $250,000. Patients who suffer critical injuries at the hands of negligent medical professionals are provided next to nothing for their suffering. A chance to raise the cap on medical malpractice payouts in the 2014 election (Proposition 46) lost with a resounding “no.”
Why? Adjusted for inflation, $250,000 in 1975 money equals about $60,000 now. So, why would voters shoot down such a proposition when it clearly could assist so many?
An LA Times report explores the possibilities of why. As the Times reports, consumer protection advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader believes that Governor Brown, “Has a moral and political responsibility” to increase medical malpractice damages in the state of California. “I’ve given him every argument why this law should be fixed,” Nader said. Political budget experts acknowledge it comes down to money. Proposition 46 would have raised the medical malpractice damage cap to $1.1 million. Opponents of Proposition 46, especially medical insurance companies, spent nearly $60 million in advertising to defeat the bill.
However, it’s clear this debate is not going away anytime soon. And neither is Ralph Nader. If you have questions concerning medical malpractice claims and how they may impact you or your family, contact the personal injury attorneys at Kahn Roven, LLP today.