Anytime a person sustains an injury or illness caused by the negligent or careless actions of a medical professional, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses. This route toward recovery is typically through a medical malpractice lawsuit, but these claims are fairly complex. Here, we want to examine some of the medical malpractice data related to the state of California, as well as the rest of the US.

What to Know About Medical Malpractice

A few years ago, a study released by Johns Hopkins revealed that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US. The study indicated that more than 250,000 deaths occur each year as a result of preventable medical errors. These mistakes can occur in a wide variety of ways, including misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, anesthesia errors, prescription medication errors, birth injuries, and more.

The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) indicates that there are approximately 16.9 medical malpractice lawsuits brought for every 100,000 people in California. Those places in the state on the lower end of the list of total medical malpractice claims filed per 100,000 people, with Louisiana topping the list. 

Overall, California so more than 56,000 actions against state licensure for medical professionals during the time frame ranging from 1990 to 2017. However, this number is skewed because of how many doctors there are in California compared to other states. The state is not even in the top ten when it comes to most actions taken against state licensure per 10,000 residents.

Overall, registered nurses face the most adverse actions by practitioner type, followed by medical doctors and nurse practitioners.

State Law Increasing Medical Malpractice Awards

Individuals who are harmed as a result of the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional in California will now be able to recover more compensation than they could previously. 

Previously, individuals could only receive $250,000 for non-economic damages related to a medical malpractice claim. This included compensation for things like physical and emotional pain and suffering as well as loss of quality of life. Now, however, AB 35 has been signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. This law creates two tiers related to medical malpractice claim caps. 

For medical malpractice claim that results in a wrongful death, the cap is increased to $500,000. Every January 1st, the cap will increase by $50,000 until it reaches $1 million. For medical malpractice claims that do not result in a death, the cap will start at $350,000. This will increase each year by $40,000 until reaching $750,000.

There has not been a cap, and there is still not a cap, on economic damages related to a medical malpractice claim, including medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, and more.

Working With an Attorney

Any person who is harmed due to the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional needs to work with a skilled attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can get involved quickly and begin an investigation into the incident. They will work diligently to recover total compensation on behalf of their client, which includes coverage of their medical bills and any long-term care needed.