Putting A Price On Life: MICRA and Medical Malpractice
In the 1970’s, a payment of $250,000 to victims of medical malpractice was often more than enough to compensate for pain and suffering and a general loss of enjoyment of one’s life. However, in today’s world that amount does not begin to fully compensate a victim and their family for the damages sustained due to the negligence of medical professionals. Yet despite this, California legislators have failed over the years to increase the cap that was set in 1974 under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, forcing medical malpractice victims to continue suffering unnecessarily.
Adjusting For Inflation
Based on estimates from current inflation calculators, $250,000 in 1974 is equivalent to $1,306,450.22 in 2017. Needless to say, this clearly demonstrates the stunning difference between what today’s medical malpractice victims need and deserve, and what they are actually able to get. Even after a jury has found that a doctor or other health care professional was guilty of medical malpractice, the maximum amount a victim can receive to compensate them for pain and suffering is only $250,000.
While juries often have an easier time awarding large financial judgments to victims based on physical injuries that can be seen, awarding money for what are considered non-economic damages has always been far more difficult. Along with pain and suffering, discomfort, and the loss of enjoyment of life, these damages can also include anxiety and psychological trauma associated with disfigurement or scarring. Because these losses are considered to be ones that cannot be easily measured in terms of dollar amounts, controversy often ensues when juries try to determine what’s best for the victim.
What About Economic Damages?
To further illustrate the disparity between damages given for pain and suffering and those awarded for visible physical injuries, it’s important to note that MICRA does not cap the amount of compensation medical malpractice victims can receive for past, present, and future medical care, as well as lost income or the inability of the victim to earn a living due to the malpractice. Since these are considered to be economic damages, no cap is applied to them.
Will The Law Be Changed?
As more and more medical malpractice victims come forward to voice their displeasure with this aspect of MICRA, personal injury attorneys across California have also advocated for the necessary changes to be made in order to help victims cope with their devastating injuries. However, since change often comes slowly in these matters due to the many political channels they must pass through, victims should not expect sudden changes regarding this matter.
Hire The Best Attorneys
Since victims of medical malpractice cases can die or find themselves facing life while having to deal with paralysis, loss of a limb, or severe disfigurement, it’s vital to hire only the best attorneys with experience and knowledge of these cases. By scheduling a free consultation with the Law Offices of Samer Habbas and Associates, victims and their families can be sure of having attorneys who will fight hard to see they receive the maximum compensation of which they deserve.