California Law Limits Pain and Suffering Damages for Medical Malpractice to $250,000

Did you know California imposes a limit on the amount of damages an injured person can receive due to medical negligence?  In 1975, the State of California legislature and Governor Jerry Brown, during his first round of being California’s Governor, determined that there was a medical insurance crisis which required extraordinary legislation to limit the amount of money an injury victim could receive from a doctor, hospital or nearly any other medical provider due to medical negligence.  This law was called the Medical Insurance Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).  That limit of $250,000.00 for pain and suffering damages (non-economic or general damages), was a one size fits all artificial cap that had no bearing on the actual injuries suffered by a victim of medical negligence.  This “cap” on damages has not changed since its inception despite the best efforts of trial lawyers to help the people of California to get proper justice for medical negligence claims.  For example, the value of non-economic damages for the loss of a limb, paralysis, brain damage or even death, is $250,000.00, maximum.  The value of that same $250,000 today (2020) compared to 1975, is $50,491.49 based upon inflation or time value of money.  Stated another way, the value of a person’s suffering in 2020 is nearly 80% less valuable than when the law was first passed.  
 

The Injured Does Not Benefit From MICRA​

Who received the overwhelming benefit of this gross injustice?  It is not the injured, maimed or dead patients, nor their surviving families.  It was not the patients with their cost of insurance premiums.  Nor was it the physicians who supposedly were saved from higher insurance premiums.  It was the insurance companies who promoted and pushed for MICRA’s cap and limitations.
 
Another aspect of the MICRA law was to put an injured patient’s attorney at a serious disadvantage, compared to the defendant’s attorney.  A defense attorney can be paid whatever amount the defense wants to pay, but the injured patient’s attorney is limited financially in what he or she is paid for battling for a patient’s rights.
I, like so many other personal injury attorneys who represent injury victims have witnessed the State of California strip a jury’s right to decide the appropriate amount of damages for a serious medical negligence claim.  One trial, I watched a jury return a verdict for $500,000 in non-economic damages, only see it struck down by a judge and replaced with $250,000.  
Many California lawyers have opted to completely abandon the medical malpractice field of law due to these serious and oppressive limitations.  However, the Inland Empire Law Group remains determined to help medical negligence injury victims even against the great challenges with MICRA. We believe medical malpractice victims need a voice and need someone to fight for them. 
 

Our Rancho Cucamonga Medical Malpractice Attorney Is Here To Help You

If you, or a loved one, suffered an injury or a death from medical negligence, you need to take immediate action to find a medical malpractice attorney who will review the claim, investigate the conduct and determine if you have an actionable claim.  Please remember, that the medical negligence statute of limitation (the time within which you can file a claim) can be as short as six months for a government claim, or one year for a private claim.  There are circumstances when the time for filing a claim can be much longer.  Don’t assume you lost your rights without checking with an attorney to see if you can file a claim.  Call us now at the Inland Empire Law Group to let us explore your rights and whether you can recover for injuries suffered at the hands of a medical professional.  CALL NOW at (909) 481-0100 for a no cost consultation, or submit your information online so we can reach out to you discuss your legal matter.
David Ricks
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Rancho Cucamonga Car Accident Attorney and Victorville CA Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Inland Empire