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Medical Malpractice Damage Caps Increasing in California

Medical Malpractice Damage Caps Increasing in California When you go to the doctor, you expect them to take care of you. But what happens when they don’t? What if they make an egregious error? Are they going to be held responsible, or will you be stuck with this burden? If you get a settlement from a medical malpractice suit, you can get some relief at this difficult time. Plus, there’s good news: medical malpractice damage caps are increasing in California, which means your settlement could be higher than previously anticipated.

If you are dealing with a medical malpractice issue, we’re here for you. Riverside, and throughout California, personal injury lawyers Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients with personal injury. We have retrieved more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement that’s rightfully yours.

The New Medical Malpractice Damage Caps Law in California

 In May of 2022, a new law was signed by the Governor that will increase the amount of compensation you can receive in a medical malpractice lawsuit. (There was a 47-year cap on medical malpractice damages that has now been lifted!)

Since 1975, the limit for the amount of money someone could receive for pain and suffering in a medical malpractice suit has been $250,000. Now, starting January 1, 2023, that number will rise to $350,000 for those who experienced an injury and $500,000 for the family members in a wrongful death suit who suffered the loss of a loved one. Both amounts are going to continue to gradually increase over the next 10 years until they reach $750,000 for injured patients and $1 million for family members in a wrongful death lawsuit.

“After decades of negotiations, legislators, patient groups, and medical professionals have reached a consensus that protects patients and the stability of our health care system” said the press release from the Governor.

Why This Change Is Important

 Medical malpractice damage caps, especially low ones, are harmful in several ways. First, a medical malpractice lawsuit can be very expensive, which means that attorneys need to allocate a huge amount of resources to investigating them and formulating a solid case that’s likely to succeed. Attorneys can’t take on cases where they cannot afford to prosecute the case correctly due to low caps and recoveries.  Now that the cap is raised, attorneys will be more likely to take on cases.  The cap is still a cap, though, and it will continue to restrict lawyers’ abilities to take on serious cases.

Patients who were injured are also going to be able to collect a higher amount of damages. They won’t be as limited.  The patients and their families have already been through enough, and a higher damage award could provide some relief.

Bringing About a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

 Medical malpractice lawsuits are notoriously difficult. There is a high standard to prove medical malpractice. This is because the legislators don’t want to discourage people from becoming doctors and other medical professionals. If it were too easy to sue them, people may not want to go into medicine, and we could suffer from a lack of sufficient medical personnel to give good care.

If you or a family member is a victim of medical malpractice, you should collect evidence of the malpractice you believe occurred. Evidence could include your medical records, photos of your injuries, and witness statements.  We can help you with all of this.  With the right proof, you can pursue damages like:

  • Related Medical bills (past and future throughout your life)
  • Loss of wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost earning capacity (past and future throughout your life)
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Medical equipment and medications
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Counseling
  • Rehabilitation Services
  • Household and Nursing Services

The statute of limitations (time limit) can be very short.  It is important to consult a lawyer immediately.

We will need to prove that your doctor or another medical professional did not live up to the duty of care, which is the care they were responsible for providing to you. It’s not enough to show that they improperly diagnosed or treated you; additionally, you have to show that because they did – or didn’t – do something, that directly led to injury and damages.

Hiring a Medical Malpractice Attorney

If your medical malpractice attorney believes you have a case, they will work on contingency, which means they only take an agreed-upon fee if you win. They will work diligently to help you collect evidence and gather records for you. They’ll also bring in experts like other medical professionals to prove that medical malpractice did occur. If you need medical assistance, your attorney can connect you with their network of providers to treat you.

It’s important to look for an experienced medical malpractice attorney who has won cases in the past and helped clients recover suitable settlements. You want an attorney who has connections to experts and has worked on difficult cases before, especially if your case is complicated or you think it could be hard to prove.  Heiting & Irwin meets that description.

Right now, you may need to focus on healing after your medical malpractice injury. Get in touch with a medical malpractice attorney to assist you.

Contact Heiting & Irwin for Assistance

If a doctor injured you or a loved one, then you’ll need to hire a qualified lawyer to represent you. Heiting & Irwin are here for you. We have dealt with many personal injury and medical malpractice injury and wrongful death cases and will work hard to get you the award that you deserve. Contact us online at www.hilegalgroup.com or call us at 951-682-6400 to initiate your case.

The only past President of the State Bar of California ever elected from the Inland Empire, James Heiting handles civil litigation matters throughout California, recovering over $400 million for clients, dealing with wrongful death, serious injury, professional malpractice and transportation accidents. Also past President of Riverside’s County Bar, his firm has served the Inland Empire for over 30 years. View Attorney James Otto Heiting's Attorney Bio Here.

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