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Limits of medical malpractice in California

Medical malpractice is a large area of law. When courts make rulings, there is often a hefty award amount. This is true even if a case settles out of court.

In addition, the timeline for such a case is often lengthy. It can take both sides a while to gather evidence and put together an effective case to bring before the court.

Due to the different aspects of a medical malpractice case, the state puts some limits on them in regards to time and damages.

Statute of limitations

The Judicial Branch of California explains that a person has one to three years to file his or her claim for medical malpractice. In general, an individual has one year from the time he or she becomes aware of an injury due to medical negligence. If the person is aware immediately, then he or she has three years from the time of the incident that led to the injury in which to file a claim.

Note that the statute of limitations is different than that for general personal injury because the claim is against a medical provider.

Damage limits

California Legislative Informative states that in a medical malpractice case, the damages a court awards have a limit for noneconomic losses. These losses would include pain and suffering, impairment, loss of function or similar losses that do not have a direct monetary value. The government set the limit at $250,000.

The Medicare payment Advisory Commission states that the reasoning behind such a limit is that it can reduce the number of claims, reduce settlement times and help prevent excessive increases on liability insurance.