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Proposition 46 could increase medical malpractice limits

Medical malpractice lawsuits could be changing in California because of Proposition 46. Proposition 46 intends to allow patients to receive more money when they are victims of medical malpractice. This proposition would enhance patient safety in California as more than 400,000 Americans die from medical mistakes a year according to The Journal of Patient Safety.

This proposition would allow victims of medical malpractice to claim suffering damages up to $1.1 million versus the old limit of $250,000. On top of this doctors will face random drug and alcohol testing. Physicians would also be required to prescribe narcotics using the CURES system, a statewide database that helps doctors to tell if a patient is "doctor shopping" for dangerous drugs.

The campaign against Proposition 46 is funded my malpractice insurance companies and the California Medical Association. The former president of San Diego County Medical Society says that this proposition would increase the cost of medical malpractice insurance, and this cost increase would be passed on to everyone, thus increasing the cost of healthcare.

The main proponent of Proposition 46 is the Santa Monica- based nonprofit Consumer Watchdog. They say that because the cap on damages to victims of medical malpractice is so low, it is difficult for victims to find attorneys willing to represent them. The increase of the cap would increase the number of attorneys willing to accept medical malpractice cases. Not only this, but Consumer Watchdog's executive director says this proposition will deter substance abuse. "Deterring substance abuse, whether it's by physicians or patients, and deterring medical negligence, is going to save lives across the board," she said.

At the beginning of this past summer, 58 percent of likely voters supported the proposition, according to a field survey, but in the early returns the proposition is failing with 73 percent of voters rejecting it.

Regardless of this bill, medical malpractice is a terrible tragedy that occurs all too often. If you or someone you know has been a victim of medical malpractice contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. at 800-777-4081 to seek a free consultation.

Source: KPBS. "Voters Reject Drug Tests For Doctors, Medical Malpractice Proposition". 4 November 2014.

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