According to a study by Johns Hopkins, approximately 250,000 people die every year due to medical mistakes. Medical negligence is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S., just behind heart disease and cancer.
Despite the prevalence of medical negligence, many states have tried to enact harsh caps on damages allowed in medical malpractice cases. These caps only serve to protect the insurance industry, HMOs and billion-dollar medical corporations. Caps have shifted the burden of lifetime medical costs incurred as a result of medical negligence from wrongdoers and their malpractice insurance onto our public health care, taxpayers, and patients' private health insurance.
California has one of the most draconian caps in the nation. Under a law passed approximately 45 years ago, patients in medical malpractice cases are capped at a recovery of $250,000 regardless of how negligent the provider was or the extent of harm caused. This includes a cap of $250,000 for people who are permanently brain damaged, maimed, or killed. To put the law in perspective, $250,000 today is worth only $50,000 in 1975 dollars.
Thankfully, there is a movement under way in California to update the law. It is called “The Fairness for Injured Patients Act” (Fairness Act) and the initiative will adjust for inflation the maximum $250,000 compensation cap set in 1975 on quality of life and wrongful death survivor damages – bringing it up to $1.2 million.
Our firm has handled many medical malpractice cases involving serious injury or death. We are licensed in California and have taken to verdict a number of cases there.
Earlier this year, partner Brett Turnbull obtained a $9 million verdict for the family of Hope Johnson, a 20-year-old Auburn University student killed by the medical negligence of an urgent care facility (Hope Johnson Verdict). Under the existing law in California, the value of the loss sustained by Hope and her family would have been arbitrarily capped.
This is an important vote for the citizens of California. Please vote “yes” on the Fairness Act in 2020.
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