Limits on Recovery in Medical Malpractice in California

The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) was passed in 1975 and heavily regulates how medical malpractice actions are prosecuted in California. One of the more significant details of the law is that it limits pain an suffering damages to $250,000. This applies to all forms of medical malpractice including: dental malpractice, emergency room malpractice, Birth injuries, Pediatric meningitis, Misdiagnosis, Failure to diagnose, Anesthesia or surgical errors.

This means that no matter how much the patient has suffered they can never recover more that $250,000 for their suffering. Thus, a young child who, because of medical malpractice, will goes blind, can never be awarded over $250,000 in pain and suffering.  This stands in stark contrast to ordinary negligence where there is no cap.  So, if someone was to spill very hot coffee on themselves they would technically be able to get more in pain and suffering than the child who has gone blind from medical malpractice.

The end result is that a certain amount of legal know-how is required to make to maximize the damage potential of the case.  Generally this involves a thorough review and presentation of economic damages. Because no cap exists on such damages, the more you can characterize as economic the more value can be added to the case.

The Attorneys of Jones and Devoy are experienced in medical malpractice actions throughout the San Francisco Bay area and are familiar with the special restrictions that laws like MICRA apply to cases. So when considering whether to bring a lawsuit or sue a doctor consider consulting with us before trying to navigate these treacherous waters.