Medical Malpractice Non-Economic Damages Cap to Be Reviewed by California Supreme Court after Proposition 46 Fails in Midterm Election

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California’s Proposition 46, which was turned down during last month’s midterm elections, is already being reassessed by the California Supreme Court. The proposition, if passed, would have raised California’s cap on pain and suffering damages to approximately $1 million. The current cap is set at $250,000, a limit established in 1975 with the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).

The Supreme Court of California heard a case that challenged MICRA on November 25th. The case deals with a man whose spinal cord injury led to loss of bladder, bowl, and sexual function after a neurosurgeon delayed his surgery. Physicians are worried about the outcome of the Supreme Court’s review, as many believe the damages cap would not only increase the cost of practicing medicine, but drive medical professionals out of state, limiting access to health care for California residents (Lin, 2014).