The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (MICRA) limits pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases to $250,000. This is generally a limit on “non-economic” damages, which include ongoing pain, loss of limbs, loss of fertility, loss of vision, loss of life, the list goes on an on.
Growing up with a father who is a doctor, I got to see the other side of the coin and generally who gets the “short end of the stick,” so to speak. However, there are those cases where a doctor may slip up and their patient may suffer painful injuries. We have seen many tragic cases where people lost use of their limbs, or their lives, only to be capped at pain and suffering damages of $250,000.
If you can’t believe that these tragic injuries are capped at $250,000 for pain and suffering, the news is that it’s even worse. Taking a medical malpractice case to court, in many if not most cases, requires medical experts to testify that the medical provider’s actions were below the standard of care, and that the action caused the injury. It’s possible that an attorney will spend six figures hiring medical experts to go through thousands of pages of medical records and take numerous depositions. When all is said and done, the patient, or their family in the most unfortunate cases, walk away from their tragedy with far less money than they deserve.
In late 2014, Proposition 46 was introduced to change MICRA. Among other things, Prop 46 tried to raise the MICRA amount by the level of inflation, which would have increased the limit for pain and suffering to approximately $1.1 million. This Proposition failed by a landslide, primarily because of commercials advertising against it. Insurance companies and other advocacy groups against the Proposition spent nearly $60 million to defeat Prop 46, partially because they’re the ones paying for the pain and suffering damages.
It’s time for a reform. Advocates will likely try again to change this law. And when they do, we hope that Californians will see the law as it should be: fair financial compensation for the victims of medical malpractice.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a medical error, contact the compassionate Los Angeles medical malpractice attorneys at Kahn Roven, LLP for immediate legal assistance. We can be reached at (844) 9-INJURED for a free consultation.