California law defines “professional negligence” (medical malpractice) as:
- A negligent act or (omission to act) by a healthcare provider;
- In the rendering of professional services by that healthcare provider,
- Where the healthcare professional’s act or omission to act is the proximate cause of a personal injury or wrongful death; and
- Provided that such services are within the scope of services for which the provider is licensed and there are no other exceptions. (California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 501.)
California professional negligence applies to healthcare providers and facilities including, but not limited to: clinics, psychologists, nurses, doctors, chiropractors, podiatrists and anesthesiologists. When a person is injured by medical malpractice, that person may recover compensatory damages which includes, but is not limited to: pain and suffering, lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical bills and therapy (occupation and physical).
As a result of the passing of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) in 1975, California Civil Code Section 3333.2 was effected. Civil Code Section 3333.2 places a limitation of $250,000 on non-economic damages to harm that is not quantifiable, including, but not limited to: disfigurement, scarring, pain and suffering.
Although no monetary limitations are placed on compensatory damages, and because a $250,000 cap is placed on non-economic damages, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney or professional to ensure that you understand what you (or your family member) may be entitled to.
Authored by Scott D. McDonald, Esq.
Scott McDonald is a California native who graduated from Pepperdine Law School in 2008. He has been aggressively litigating cases in Personal Injury and Bankruptcy Law for nearly a decade. Mr. McDonald prides himself in being anything but a “typical” attorney. His unique and very personal approach to practicing law has helped numerous clients obtain their goals and get the legal relief they need.
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