California lawmakers and residents continue to debate a change to caps on medical malpractice claims. Currently, the law sets awards at no more than $250,000. This limit was set back in 1975 and proponents of change argue is no longer an accurate reflection of the expenses that result from medical negligence.
Those opposed to the increase have voiced concern it would lead to higher health care costs and could make it more difficult to bring and keep quality medical professionals in the state. This is because the increase would likely lead to a jump in medical malpractice insurance, which would translate to higher medical costs for patients and a decrease in pay for physicians.
The proposal currently under consideration would increase the limit to just over $1 million. Lawmakers were planning to include the proposal on an earlier ballot but decided to postpone due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they wanted to reevaluate the proposal and provide voters with the option when they were not also in the midst of a pandemic.
What does this mean for patients injured due to poor medical care?
Patients can hold a medical professional legally accountable if that professional’s negligent or reckless care resulted in injury. Although it may be tempting to wait and see if the law is approved and a new cap becomes a reality in the near future, it is important to keep in mind that these cases have time limits. As a result, you can lose your chance to file a lawsuit at all if you do not file the claim within the appropriate time period.