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What is the proposed law regarding malpractice in California?

Voters in California this fall will get a chance to significantly impact the way the state handles medical malpractice claims. If you have been a victim of medical negligence, it may be in your best interest to file a lawsuit. Currently, California law caps the awards for malpractice claims at $250,000. There are several important aspects of the proposed malpractice law, one of which addresses that compensation cap. According to the legislation, dubbed the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act of 2014, people who have suffered due to a medical mistake should be eligible to receive as much as $1 million in damages.

In addition to increasing potential awards, the act also seeks to keep patients safe through strengthening the state’s policies regarding physicians who misuse drugs and alcohol. If passed, the law would require doctors to be randomly tested and report any positive results to the California Medical Board. The board would then have to suspend physicians who have tested positive, pending an investigation into whether or not they were impaired while on duty. 

Medical personnel would be required to report any physicians suspected of impairment or medical negligence. The act also would mandate that health care professionals consult the existing state prescription database before giving patients specified controlled medications.

If approved, the proposed legislation would be the first law in the country to require random drug testing for physicians. Opponents claim that the act, which will be on the Nov. 4 ballot, would increase health care costs, but advocates argue that medical negligence happens too often and victims are not currently receiving the compensation they deserve. While this information may be useful in learning more about malpractice lawsuits in California, it should not be perceived as legal advice.

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