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Could CA Vote Set a Precedent for Medical Malpractice Nationwide?
California voters will be faced with the opportunity to make a major difference to the medical profession if they vote yes on Proposition 46 in their upcoming election. Proposition 46 is so far the only one of its kind in the nation, but if it gains traction on the west coast, could east coast states like Maryland and Virginia be far behind? Read on to find out more about Proposition 46 and what exactly it means for medical malpractice cases in the future.
Proposition 46: California’s Attempt to Hold Physicians Accountable
The proposition in question essentially puts forth two new requirements regarding medical care in California. The first one places a similar level of responsibility on physicians as it already does with police officers, requiring that doctors submit to random drug and alcohol tests as a method of deterring substance abuse and ensuring that doctors are not impaired before going to treat their patients. While this measure could certainly do a lot for reducing the risks of negligent treatment in hospitals and health care facilities, it is the other stipulation of the proposal that is gaining the most attention for its divisive nature.
The second requirement of Proposition 46 is that, if passed, it will raise the cap on pain and suffering damages for medical negligence that has previously been imposed. While the current cap holds at $250,000 for the state of California, the proposition would increase that amount to $1.1 million, which is worrying many hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies. Pain and suffering damages differ from the other expenses incurred by most medical malpractice cases; it is considered a “non-economic” damage, and therefore most states impose a cap on compensation. Maryland imposes a non-economic damages cap of $740,000, and by law, that amount increases by $15,000 per year. While the actual amount each plaintiff receives can differ from case to case, the cap does keep it somewhat limited overall.
So if Proposition 46 is voted through in California, does that mean other states will not be far behind in raising their pain and suffering caps? Time will tell, but for now, the best move you can make when you are filing a medical malpractice claim is to seek the advice of a professional, experienced attorney from Jenkins Block & Associates.
We have four offices across Maryland and Virginia with trained legal professionals ready to assist you. Please CALL US at 1-800-243-2439 to be directed to the closest Jenkins Block & Associates location to you.