Medical Malpractice in California

When one is truly injured by the gross negligence of another, they deserve to be compensated for their injuries.  When this negligence is caused by a medical professional and the victim is a patient, this is known as medical malpractice.

The injuries one suffers from medical malpractice fall into two categories:  Economic and Non-Economic Damages.  Economic Damages are damages that can be measured on a piece of paper.  For example, future medical expenses or lost wages due to missed time at work are examples of Economic Damages.  As you might imagine, these are straight forward, and do not cause much controversy.

On the other hand, Non-Economic Damages are the subject of much debate.  If you are not familiar with Non-Economic Damages, you may know them by a more popular name, “Pain and Suffering.”  In contrast with Economic Damages, Pain and Suffering cannot be measured.  However, while they cannot be measured, they can be limited.  In California this is known as Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act or MICRA.  MICRA was passed in 1975 and it puts a limit of $250,000 on all Non-Economic Damages. 

Accordingly, when suing for medical malpractice in California, a plaintiff can sue for all direct Economic Damages, and then no more than $250,000 in Non-Economic / Pain and Suffering Damages.