By Hannah Wiley, SACRAMENTO BEE - CAPITOL ALERT
December 4, 2019
A ballot initiative to adjust the cap on medical malpractice payouts was cleared for circulation on Tuesday, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.
The so-called “Fairness for Injured Patients Act,” backed by the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, challenges a nearly 45-year-old law that limits how much family members of and victims themselves can be compensated when medical malpractice results in injury or death. The number is currently capped at $250,000.
The ballot initiative would instead adjust the limit for inflation and would pave the way for juries and judges to deem whether the cap is appropriate.
“Since 1975, the maximum compensation any patient-victim is entitled to for disfigurement, permanent damage to quality of life, physical impairment, disability, pain, loss of a limb, blindness, and other quality of life damages is $250,000,” the initiative reads. “Brain-damaged babies and children with spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy caused by medical negligence are limited to $250,000 as maximum quality of life compensation by this 1975 legislative cap despite the fact that they will never be able to walk, talk, eat, or live any facet of a normal human life.”
Proponents supporting the act are required to collect 623,212 signatures from registered voters in order for the initiative to appear on the November 2020 ballot. They have until June 1 to do so.