In California, a law that hasn’t changed since 1975 takes away the rights of injured patients to hold incompetent doctors or negligent hospitals accountable when they’re hurt.
California’s “malpractice cap” law limits compensation for pain and suffering because of medical negligence to $250,000.
The $250,000 cap on compensation for injured Californians hasn’t been adjusted for inflation since 1975. Adjusted, it would be more than $1,000,000.
Put that in perspective: The minimum wage would be just $2.10 an hour if it hadn’t changed since 1975.
The cap limits compensation for people who are injured but don’t make a lot of money. The cost to bring a case is often more than the case is worth. It never changes, no matter how severely you are injured, if you lose your sight, your fertility, or even your child.
Insurance companies know they will not have to pay more than the cap, so they fight rather than settle legitimate suits. That means that retired seniors, women who don’t work, children and low-income Californians can’t find attorneys when they’re injured by medical mistakes, neglect or abuse. No attorney means doctors and hospitals aren’t held accountable.
Why hasn’t the law gone away? Because the malpractice cap lets insurance companies and doctors keep money that should be compensating injured Californians.