MICRA LIMITS RISING?
A ballot measure was recently proposed to seek changes in the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (known as “MICRA,”) which presently caps non-economic medical negligence damages to the sum of $250,000.00. FIPA, the Fairness for Injured Patients’ Act, is proposed for the 2020 ballot. It would immediately raise the MICRA limitation cap, to approximately 1.2 million dollars. In addition, FIPA would allow juries to circumvent the MICRA cap in its entirety in cases of life-long “catastrophic” injuries or death.
Back in 2014, Proposition 46 sought to achieve similar results; however, proved unsuccessful. Proposition 46 lacked two important items necessary to advance a ballot measure. Those included money, as well as a friendly electorate. In addition, the California Medical Association spent approximately 5.3 million dollars to stop Proposition 46 back in 2014. Other businesses and medical groups spent in excess of 58 million dollars to stop Proposition 46, compared to the minimal 12 million dollars spent by the proponents of Proposition 46.
This current ballot measure is now backed by many groups, including Consumer Watch Dog, Consumer Attorneys of California, and many patient advocate groups throughout California. The focus of the ballot measure is to change the archaic limits of MICRA, which were set in 1975, capping the non-economic medical negligence damages at $250,000.00. The current $250,000.00 cap is worth only slightly over $50,000.00 in 1975 dollars. The proposed 1.2 million dollar cap would bring the non-economic damages into the 21st century and account for years of inflation.
Look for follow-up articles regarding the progress of FIPA, and its efforts to achieve fairness to patients or victims of medical errors.