Are Medical Malpractice Caps Unconstitutional?

Are Medical Malpractice Caps Unconstitutional?

Legal news reports that the California Supreme Court has announced that it will review the constitutionality of the state's medical malpractice damages cap. The cap, set at $250,000 was established 39 years ago. Since then, several states have determined that similar damage caps unconstitutionally deny victims equal protection under the law. Now, the Supreme Court has stated that it will evaluate the soundness of this decision. Study after study has shown that the existence of this cap unfairly deprives victims of medical negligence the justice they deserve.

Earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the state's cap on medical negligence damages was unconstitutional, stating, "the cap on noneconomic damages serves no other purpose other than to arbitrarily punish the most grievously injured or their surviving family members."

The lawsuit, Hughes v. Pham, involves a man who sustained serious personal injuries while riding an all-terrain vehicle. As a result of a delay in treatment, Hughes suffered permanent spinal cord damage, including lost sensation, motor function, bowel and bladder function and sexual function. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, Hughes was awarded $2,750,000 in noneconomic damages to compensate him for his lifetime of pain and suffering. However, as the result of the cap on damages, this award was reduced to $250,000. Many observers have noted that the medical malpractice cap makes it difficult for those without significant wages to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit, such as the elderly, children and stay at home parents.

As San Diego medical malpractice attorneys, we are hopeful that the cap on pain and suffering damages will be found to be unconstitutional, and allow all those injured by medical malpractice to obtain the justice they deserve.

For more information, please contact the top San Diego medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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