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California Medical Malpractice Laws

Jun 2, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

As each state, California also has its own set of medical malpractice laws, and it is important for patients to understand them and know how they can affect his case.

  • Statute of Limitations for Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

According to California law, an injured party must file his lawsuit within:

  • three years of the date of the injury or
  • one year from the date of which the injury was discovered.

From a practical perspective, a claimant has only one year from the date of the medical treatment to bring an action on the case. There is an exception for children under 6-year-old whose parents or guardians have 3 years after the date of the injury to file a medical negligence lawsuit.

Exceptions Which Toll the Statute of Limitations “Clock”

  • The health care provider’s concealing or fraudulent actions essentially hid the medical mistake
  • The case arose from the accidental leaving of a foreign object in a patient

Sending the Notification to the Defendant

California law also requires the plaintiff to notify the defendant 90 days before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The plaintiff must send the following information to the defendant:

  • The legal basis of the medical malpractice claim
  • The type of loss
  • The nature of the injuries
  • Expert Testimony for Medical Malpractice Cases

In California, an injured plaintiff is not required to file a certificate or affidavit of merit to verify the validity of a medical negligence case. However, expert testimony is always required in medical malpractice cases to establish the standards of care to which medical specialists are held in the precise area of the medical healing arts which is in question and to decide whether the defendant who has acted negligently and failed to live up to the standards.

  • Statutory Caps for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Statutory caps include limits or restrictions on the amount of the damages the plaintiff can recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

In the state of California, a plaintiff can’t recover more than $250,000 for non-economic damages such as:

  • pain and suffering
  • physical impairment
  • loss of enjoyment of life
  • loss of consortium.

It is important to mention that this cap has no bearing on “economic” losses such as:

  • past and future medical care
  • lost earnings
  • lost ability to make a living and
  • other financial losses

California also limits the amount of money that an attorney can charge based on a sliding scale which is a function of the total damages award that the plaintiff can collect.

  • Comparative Negligence Laws

California is a pure comparative negligence state, in which the fault is proportionally allocated among all parties and the damage awards are reduced proportionally.

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If you have suffered a medical malpractice injury, we invite yo to contact our experienced lawyers at KAASS LAW who are familiar with the details and procedures involved with filing a medical malpractice claim in California. If you are serious about the situation, you must act before the statute of limitations is up.