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Medical malpractice initiative would raise cap to $1.1 million

When someone is a victim of a doctor error, he or she should take action. Many people choose to file a suit alleging medical malpractice. The damages recovered from these suits pay for items such as medical bills and lost wages. In California, there is currently a cap on how much money a victim may receive for damages pertaining to pain and suffering. However, a vote in November could change that.

In 1975, a California law determined that an individual may not receive any more than $250,000 for pain and suffering. Adjusted for inflation, the present-day number would be roughly $1.1 million. A measure on the ballot for this November seeks to use that new rate and make sure that the damage cap is adjusted for inflation on an annual basis.

Medical groups claim that the proposed law would spark skyrocketing insurance rates. However, patient advocates note that the change is necessary, as victims over the last 40 years have missed out on tens of millions of dollars. Also included in the measure, dubbed Drug and Alcohol Testing for Doctors, is an order that would mandate physicians to undergo random tests. The provision was added to the ballot after supporters collected well above the 504,760 signatures needed.

Anytime a medical error causes a patient additional injury or illness, an attorney should be contacted. Regardless of the current cap, victims are entitled to build a compelling case in order to secure the compensation necessary to cover related costs. An attorney can handle the legalese so patients can focus on healing.

Source: SFGate, “Medical malpractice initiative makes November ballot,” Bob Egelko, May 16, 2014

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