Damages in medical malpractice cases

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Posted on May 19, 2014

Going on the ballot in California this November is an initiative for medical malpractice victims that would finally increase the amount of money patients can receive from medical malpractice insurance companies after they have proved the doctor, hospital, HMO or other healthcare provider committed malpractice and caused serious damages.  The initiative would allow patients to receive up to $1.1 million for pain, suffering and other damages a jury awards but cannot strictly quantify - like lost income or medical expenses. The current cap is $250,000.

This initiative would also mandate drug tests for doctors and require physicians to use a state prescription drug database. Hospitals in California will be required to conduct random drug tests and test a doctor for drugs when a preventable medical error was made.The doctors would have to consult with the state database for all new patients' prescription history before they can prescribe the patient new medication or drugs that are prone to abuse.

Who do these damage caps hurt?  The elderly, the young, stay at home moms and other people who may be severely injured and disabled due to preventable medical mistakes, but were not working at the time.  They may live with chronic pain, disfigurement and distress as a result and the hospital, HMO or physician who caused it will never be financially responsible for the harms.

But if a patient runs over her surgeon in the parking lot leaving the hospital, the doctor can sue her for millions of dollars - with no cap on his damages.

How fair is that?

If you believe that your injury or condition was due to an unnecessary medical error, do not leave it up the physicians and the hospitals to report it. Be proactive and report your injury as soon as possible. If you have any questions about how to get started on investigating a medical malpractice case, reach out to us. We have experience with many types of medical malpractice cases against hospitals, HMOs and physicians in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. And when you call us, we can give you a confidential consultation and free information that can help you and your family. While we cannot take every case, we can give you information you can use to make the best decisions for you and your family.

So if you're worried about something that went wrong in the health care system, call us or send us a confidential email and we can try to help.

For more information on this story head over to www.washingtonpost.com



Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer