A ballot initiative over pending medical malpractice legislation in California, called “one of the nation’s most expensive ballot campaigns” by the Washington Post, received additional support via a television advertisement from Senator Barbara Boxer. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times explains that Boxer “emerged as a forceful spokeswoman for an initiative to raise some medical malpractice awards in the state.”
Proposition 46, Damage Caps, and Medical Malpractice Legislation
The ballot measure, known as Proposition 46, “would increase the limit on certain medical malpractice damages from $250,000 to approximately $1.1 million.” Since 1975, non-economic damages have been capped at $250,000. Unlike economic damages, which typically compensate a victim for hospital bills, medical visits and treatments, and so forth, non-economic damages compensate victims for injuries such as loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and pain and suffering. Also unlike economic damages, non-economic damages cannot be measured in a fixed dollar amount, and can therefore vary widely from case to case.