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The California Cap in Medical Malpractice Claims: What About Inflation?

Medical malpractice attorney

The unfair low limits on pain and suffering awarded in a California medical malpractice lawsuit has been under controversy for years. While the simple fix would be to simply remove the low cap on the reward, few things of genuine importance are simple in California’s Capitol.

As California’s law still stands, a victim of medical negligence may only be awarded a maximum of $250,000 for pain and suffering. Although it may be hard to overturn the law altogether, the fight continues for adjusting the cap to account for inflation.

The History

In 1975, physicians were threatening to cease their practice in the state due to the rising cost of insurance premiums. In response to the threat of jeopardized healthcare delivery in the state, the medical profession and the insurance companies introduced legislation to cap pain and suffering awards at $250,000. This legislation ultimately passed.

Almost 40 years later, the cap still stands at $250,000, despite the futile efforts of court challenges and legislative efforts.

Accounting For Inflation

If this cap had been indexed to match inflation, it would be worth $1.1 million in 2014. In other words, $250,000 today was equivalent to only $57,600 in 1975 dollars.

In November 2013, a lawyer-sponsored ballot initiative was proposed that would adjust the cap for inflation. Sufficient signatures have been collected to qualify the measure. The ballot backers must meet a March 24th deadline to turn in the signatures to avoid losing leverage in the Legislature.

Call Us Today

Although there may be a cap on an award for pain and suffering in a medical malpractice claim, you should nevertheless consult an experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney to get the full extent of compensation that you are entitled to.

For more information or to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney, please call the Law Offices of Samer Habbas at (888) 848-5048.