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Capping Non-economic Awards In Medical Malpractice Trials: by RAND Corporation, Laura Zakaras, Daniela Golinelli

By RAND Corporation, Laura Zakaras, Daniela Golinelli

A version for limits on trial awards and lawyers' charges in clinical malpractice circumstances is the clinical damage repayment Reform Act (MICRA), a legislations enacted in California in 1975 within the desire of controlling hovering scientific malpractice coverage charges and making sure the continued availability of malpractice coverage. MICRA caps awards for non-economic losses at $250,000 and boundaries plaintiffs' legal professional charges. The authors study the results those limits have on either plaintiffs' awards and defendants' liabilities.

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Extra resources for Capping Non-economic Awards In Medical Malpractice Trials: California Jury Verdicts Under Micra (Rand Corporation Monograph)

Sample text

2, which does eliminate joint liability for non-economic damages only, became effective on June 4, 1986). R. 5 contains a clear prohibition on informing the jury of the potential imposition of the award cap, whereas no such restriction is found in the MICRA statutes. 4 This complex legislation has two key features: It limits to $250,000 the amount a plaintiff can recover for noneconomic damages 5 (such as pain or suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of consortium) 6 and it limits plaintiffs’ attorney fees in malpractice cases according to a sliding scale based on the size of the recovery, with the contingency fee percentage decreasing as the plaintiff’s recovery increases.

1 Average Size of Original Verdicts by Type of Claim, All Cases with Plaintiff Wins Type of Claim Median (1999$) Measure Mean (1999$) All cases (n=257) Economic damage awards Non-economic damage awards Total damage awards $61,000 $260,000 $382,000 $950,000 $687,000 $1,637,000 Injuries only (n=195) Economic damage awards Non-economic damage awards Total damage awards $58,000 $250,000 $358,000 $1,145,000 $652,000 $1,796,000 Deaths only (n=62) Economic damage awards Non-economic damage awards Total damage awards $80,000 $330,000 $573,000 $336,000 $798,000 $1,135,000 NOTE: Dollar amounts are rounded to the nearest thousand.

In other words, original verdicts and modified final judgments are combined for all plaintiffs in a single case for the purposes of any per-case averages or percentages presented in the tables or figures in this report. 9 Our analysis often makes a distinction between those cases in which the alleged victim ____________ 7 We dropped one case that included both non-MICRA legal claims and financial injury claims. 8 MICRA’s cap generally applies to the entire action by implementing a single $250,000 limit for all claims against the same health care provider related to allegations of professional negligence.

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