A cause of action for a health care provider’s negligence consists of four necessary elements;
1) The duty of the professional to use the skill, prudence and diligence as other members of the profession commonly possess and exercise;
2) A breach of or departure from that duty;
3) A proximate, causal connection between the negligent conduct and the resulting injury or death; and
4) The actual loss or damage resulting from the professional’s negligence.
In May 1975, the governor of California convened a special session of the California Legislature because of problems resulting from the rapid increase in medical malpractice insurance premiums. Many doctors had decided to limit their practices to specific areas of medicine. Others were practicing with no insurance. In response to this perceived emergency, the Legislature enacted the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (“MICRA’).
MICRA places a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. The $250,000 cap has no provision that accounts for inflation; it is the same now as it was when the law was passed in 1975. So, what are non-economic damages? They are awarded to a plaintiff to compensate for things like pain and suffering, discomfort, loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety, and even the psychological impact of scarring or disfigurement. They are called “non-economic” damages because they represent the kinds of losses that cannot be easily measured by a dollar amount.
Keep in mind that California has no cap on the amount of money that an injured patient can receive as compensation for medical care (past and future) made necessary by the malpractice, nor is there a cap on lost income or impairment of the patient’s ability to earn a living because of the malpractice. These kinds of losses would be categorized as economic damages, and MICRA’s cap doesn’t affect them.
The MICRA laws are vast and complex. Navigating through this area of law require the assistance of competent counsel. The attorneys at Legal Objective are infinitely familiar with the provisions of MICRA and are ready to review your case at no charge. Legal Objective is also prepared to litigate your case on a “no-win no-fee” arrangement. Such a “no-win no-fee” arrangement is often referred to as a contingency fee agreement. The basic concept of our contingency fee agreement is that we, at Legal Objective, will provide legal services for a percentage of the total amount recovered. If we do not obtain a recovery then we do not earn a fee for our services.