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A Brief Guide to Medical Malpractice Laws in California

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California laws on medical malpractice or professional negligence allow you to sue healthcare professionals and claim compensation for your losses. A reliable California personal injury lawyer can help you to understand how to proceed with your case if you have sustained any damages because of the negligence of a healthcare professional.

In general, California law defines medical malpractice as a negligent act or inaction by a healthcare provider that they should reasonably have in the process of providing professional services, and that act or omission of the act led to a personal injury or wrongful death. However, the services should be within the scope of professional services which the healthcare provider is licensed to offer and should not fall within any kind of restriction enforced by the licensed hospital or the licensing agency.

California medical malpractice laws are applicable to all healthcare providers as well as facilities that are licensed by the state. This includes doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists, psychologists, pharmacists, as well as hospitals, clinics, and laboratories. A person injured because of professional negligence of the healthcare provider can recover most of the compensatory damages, such as medical bills, physical and occupational therapy expenses, home health care costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, etc. In some cases, patients may also be eligible for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Note that the California Civil Code 3333.2 imposes a cap of $250,000 for compensating non-economic damages. The cap is put in force according to the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) of 1975. Typically, this cap applies to medical malpractice damages that cannot easily be valued. Such damages may include pain, inconvenience, scarring, deformity, inability to use an organ or limb, change in the quality of life, and even death. Aside from that, there is no cap for claiming compensation for the damages that can be proved with the right evidence.

A professional California injury lawyer can help to gather all the relevant evidence and get the maximum compensation for your damages. Therefore, it is always recommended to hire an expert personal injury lawyer to proceed with your case if you have sustained an injury due to medical malpractice.

In some cases, California medical malpractice laws also allow you to recover for punitive damages. However, you will need to prove in court that the healthcare professional committed oppression, malice, or fraud by producing clear and convincing pieces of evidence. Punitive charges in professional negligence claim apply when the conduct of the defendant was despicable, reckless, or was done intentionally ignoring the rights or safety of the plaintiff.

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