Families and attorneys statewide are hoping to get the attention of lawmakers to eliminate a cap on pain and suffering damages from medical negligence.
On Interstate 80, drivers can see a billboard of a baby’s face — and next to it, bold letters read “Medical Negligence Kills.” It’s one tactic financed by trial lawyers to push their cause.
The infant in the photo is Mia Chavez, who died after doctors failed to detect whooping cough even though she was examined time and time again.
In exchange for her life, her family can only get $250,000.
“38 years ago, the doctors and their lobbyists came to Sacramento and they convinced the legislature to pass a law saying no matter how bad a doctor hurt someone, even by their negligence or ignorance, that person would never recover more than $250,000 for their pain and suffering,” said Sacramento attorney Mosley Collins.
Collins represents families like Mia’s. Collins and hundreds that have lost a loved one from medical negligence want to change that law, known as the Medical Injury Reform Act.
“Within the last 38 years, the doctors and the hospitals have increased their prices by 10 times, yet they refuse to pay more when they hurt or kill a citizen of California,” said Collins.
Hospitals and health care organizations say the cap is meant to keep medical costs from skyrocketing.
They say eliminating them entirely would raise health care costs by billions statewide.