Proposition 46 increases the cap on pain and suffering damages that can be assessed in medical negligence lawsuits to over $1 million. Proposition 46 provides for random drug and alcohol testing, thus screening doctors as a method of protecting patients from impaired physicians and preventing medical malpractice claims from ever occurring.
For years, insurance companies have made record profits by raising premiums and failing to consider rebates to their insured. Furthermore, without justification or rational explanation in relation to inflation, the cap on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits has not changed since it was enacted in 1975.
Although reasonable in 1975, a $250,000 cap is inadequate compensation in 2014, nearly 40 years later. Prop 46 raises the cap to the amount that it would have been if it kept pace with inflation, and provides for future annual adjustments. This will resolve the issue of the medical malpractice cap once and for all by making it rationally related to the modern economic system in which it operates.
Because of the high costs of litigation, the current restrictive damages award means average Californians with legitimate claims of medical malpractice have a difficult time finding attorneys willing to champion their cause. Although Anti-Prop 46 propaganda would have you believe that civil tort cases are clogging the system and costing the taxpayers, the reality is that the majority of tort lawsuits are resolved without a trial (79% of all unlimited civil cases and 92% of all limited civil cases).
Several studies in recent years have revealed that hundreds of thousands of patients die each year because of medical negligence- by some accounts, deaths by medical errors is the third-leading cause of death in America. (See this link for more details).
There is a risk involved in any medical procedure, but it is our responsibility as voters to ensure that our legal system provides proper avenues for redress in the event of an unfortunate accident.
Proposition 46 also requires doctors to access a statewide database before prescribing drugs in an attempt to limit prescription drug abuse by patients. By enacting this requirement, California would take a stand against the unfortunate reality that health care providers are generally the main source of prescription drugs to chronic prescription drug abusers.
Vote Yes- An increase in the cap on medical malpractice lawsuits is long overdue. Prop 46 will hold doctors accountable when they commit negligence, address the growing public health crisis of prescription drug abuse, and protect the overall health, safety, and legal rights of Californians.
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