Medical Malpractice and Legal Funding

It was some 4 decades ago that the California government stipulated the maximum amount of money that injured patients could receive in malpractice lawsuits with respect to non economic damages. In spite of the years that have rolled by, the cap of $250,000 remains unadjusted to keep pace with inflation. Now the California advocates are pushing to get this cap raised.

How It Adds to Your Woes

The cap comes in as a huge detriment to litigants because it limits the ability of legal funding to provide succor to the litigants. With a higher cap lawsuit finance can be more proactive with a larger loan component.

Non-profit Initiative

Consumer Watchdog , a nonprofit is in the forefront of a campaign seeking to raise this cap along with other changes, which according to its president will have significant impact on patient safety. Apart from raising the cap, the campaign also seeks to subject doctors to a routine alcohol and drug testing. If the initiative is successful, the changes will be put to vote in November 2014 before the California voters. The drug testing is considered a major move because, physicians, in comparison to other professions with high risk are subjected to much less scrutiny. In recent times, Texas witnessed some horrendous instances of surgical malpractice, which possibly could be attributed to the physicians’ addiction to alcohol, prescription drugs and/or substance abuse.

*Is the Malpractice Cap Justified? *

At present, some 35 states across the nation have capped the amount that patients can recover through malpractice suits as far as non economic damages are concerned. The $250,000 cap by California pitches at the lower end and acts as a huge barrier in bringing claims against doctors and hospitals that caused the injury. Continued litigation and expert testimony can quickly add up to the costs. In many instances the costs are so overwhelming that a lawsuit may not seem worth the trouble. As a result most injury cases never reach the courts of law and patients are left to suffer without any compensation for their pain and suffering. A higher cap will make cash advance a viable option for litigants putting the much needed cash in their hands.

Caps are Unconstitutional

Very recently, the Florida Supreme Court issued a ruling that the caps were unconstitutional. The court further observed that the caps served only to protect hospitals and doctors from the responsibility and consequences of medical negligence. The justices went on to conclude that the caps in fact offended “fundamental notion of equal justice under the law”.

Cap May Be Raised and Doctors/Nurses Made Accountable

California’s initiative will raise the cap to $1.1 million ensuring that the number is adequate to factor in inflation. The law is also slated to require doctors as well as nurses to check prescription drug histories of patients with the help of a state database. The objective of the exercise is to keep a tab on those who ‘doctor shop’ to obtain varied prescription medications for abuse. When California does raise the cap, it would also make legal funding a more viable option for litigants.

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.:About the author:.
James Sheridan - Pegasus Funding

James Sheridan is the Contracts Manager at Pegasus Legal Funding LLC and is responsible for the final stage of the funding approval process. James focus and priority is delivering to PLF’s clients the funds they need as quickly as possible
Author:James Sheridan
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