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Measure to raise cap on medical malpractice goes to ballot

Any mistake or negligence in the overall healthcare of a patient is not only harmful -- in some instances, it can be deadly. California currently has damage caps in place to limit the monetary amount a victim may receive for pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits. Recently, a move to reform the law qualified to be on the state ballot for a vote later this year.

Currently, damages for pain and suffering awarded from a medical malpractice lawsuit are capped at $250,000. This law has been in place since 1975, and some think that it’s time for a change. According to recent data, because of inflation, the limit could increase to more than $1.1 million if the measure is actually approved.

In order to get the measure on the ballot in the first place, over 504,000 signatures from registered voters were required. The measure surpassed the requirement with over 840,000 signatures. Many of those signatures were from alleged medical malpractice victims or consumer advocates, and the measure is set to be voted on in November.

The negligence of a hospital or medical professional can have serious and far-reaching implications for a patient who may have been injured as a result. California victims might be surprised to find that the successful litigation of a medical malpractice lawsuit might not provide adequate compensation with respect to the pain and suffering associated with their injuries. The measure on November’s ballot aims to change that by hopefully increasing the cap on pain and suffering damages if voters show their support. Until such a time that California raises the cap, a medical malpractice lawsuit may still make sense and potentially provide an significant amount of help to those who may have been injured due to the negligence of a healthcare professional.

Source: CBS Los Angeles, "Initiative To Reform Calif. Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Qualifies For Ballot", , May 16, 2014

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