California’s MICRA Non-Economic Damages Cap: Back to the Ballot?

It is deja vu all over again with a proposed initiative to raise California’s statutory damages cap on non-economic damages (typically pain and suffering) in actions concerning medical malpractice. We saw this last attempted in 2014, but it has been around and around a few times, given that this non-economic damages cap has remained unchanged in MICRA since 1975. The proposal would raise the cap from $250,000 to $1.2 million with further adjustments going forward. The sides have been chosen. This will not be pretty. The 2014 attempt to essentially take the original MICRA cap and index it to inflation failed, so there must be something pretty special about a flat $250,000 cap for it to have withstood the rigors of time and inflation. This could get interesting.

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