California Medical Malpractice Pain & Suffering Settlement Amounts Haven't Been Updated Since 1975
Do you know that if you are injured by a negligent doctor or hospital in California, you cannot recover more than $250,000.00 for pain and suffering? Death? $250,000.00. Loss of sight? $250,000.00. Life in a wheelchair? $250,000.00. That sum, if increased just for inflation, would be $1.1 million today. Another way to look at it is the $250,000.00 maximum you can recover today is the same as $57,600.00 was in 1975.
In 1975, doctors in California were threatening to leave the state or stop practicing medicine if action was not taken to reduce medical malpractice verdicts. The solution was to limit the amount of money a jury could award in a verdict for pain and suffering to $250,000.00. It occurs to me that if that amount of moeny was considered fair in 1975, then an equivalent sum should be considered fair today. A ballot inititative has been proposed for the fall 2014 election to increase the medical malpractice limit for pain and suffering to $1.1 million.
The cost to pursue a medical malpractice claim commonly reaches $50,000.00 to $75,000.00 and more to retain experts, take depositions, and cover all costs to get to trial. Court fees have increased substantially, and due to court closures in California, it can take 2 years to even get to trial. Many lawyers turn away deserving medical malpractice victims because the costs of pursing claims is too high in relation to the amount of money that can be recovered for clients. This hostile environment for victims of medical negligence leaves too many seriousy injured victims with no recourse.
If you have ever been the victim of an accident or injury of any kind, you know how difficiult it is to obtain justice. Keep this in mind during the next election cycle. Next time, we'll go into why it is important to hold doctors and hospitals accountable for their actions and require them to pay for the damages they cause.