In the last part of 2013, a ballot initiative to increase the amount of funds that could be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits was denied. This ballot measure would have allowed those who suffered from medical malpractice to get an increased amount of damages (increase the cap), but it also would have required hospitals to test doctors for drug and alcohol use. In addition, it would have required doctors to check a state-run database before prescribing narcotics to any patient.
The initiative was overwhelmingly rejected in November 2013. Trial lawyers and a consumer advocacy group called Consumer Watchdog were in favor of the ballot, but healthcare providers, doctors, and insurance companies were very much against the measure. They were likely against it because it would ultimately cost them more money.
The insurance side spent roughly $58.6 million to keep this measure out of California laws whereas the support group spend approximately $11 million. It is clear that there were some powerful forces with deep pockets behind the “no” side of the initiative.
The California caps will remain where they are for now, and there continue to be no legal requirements for hospitals to check doctors for drug and alcohol use.
For more information about this measure or any other aspect of medical malpractice, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Call the Mitchell Leeds, LLP at 415-702-9928. We are happy to help you with your legal needs.