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In 1975, then Governor, Jerry Brown, signed into law the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). MICRA placed a limit of $250,000.00 on non-economic damages, so called “pain and suffering” damages in actions filed for medical negligence.

Since 1975 there have been multiple attempts to modify the law, to increase the potential damages for persons injured by the medical neglect of others. Whether the attempt was made by plaintiffs’ attorneys or other advocates, the difficult issue is that the MICRA damage limitation protects the provider of the poor medical care, and inhibits the potential recovery for injured patients.

A 2022 ballot measure is pending that will adjust the damage cap for inflation, all the way back to 1975, increasing the potential “pain and suffering” damage cap to over one million dollars. The ballot measure would also eliminate any “cap” on damages for those who suffer “catastrophic injuries,” to be determined what that definition entails.

This ballot measure will be heavily contested by insurance companies, patient advocates and trial lawyers, but the time is right to correct the archaic limit of damages presently available under MICRA.

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