Court Upholds Medical Liability Damages Cap
(HealthDay News) — The non-economic damages cap under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) has been upheld again in a California court of appeal, according to a report published by the American Medical Association.
The plaintiff in Chan v. Curran tried to prove that the non-economic damages cap under MICRA should be struck down, claiming it was unconstitutional.
According to the report, the plaintiff claimed that MICRA was put in place to tamp down California's medical liability insurance crisis in the 1970s, but that crisis no longer exists; this argument was rejected by the court. In addition, the plaintiff claimed that the noneconomic damages cap discourages attorneys from taking cases on contingency, thereby limiting access to the courts; the court held that parties are not guaranteed the right to counsel in civil cases. The court also rejected the argument that MICRA interferes with the right to a trial by jury, based on the results of previous cases.
"All of [Chan]'s arguments…are ultimately grounded on the assertion she is entitled to seek noneconomic damages sufficient to cover attorney fees," the court said in its opinion. "No California court has ever endorsed such a proposition…it is contrary to many well-established legal principles."