Rules To Consider When Filing A Lawsuit For Medical Malpractice In California
If you believe that you were a victim of medical negligence, then you might have thought about filing a lawsuit. After all, a successful lawsuit can give you compensation for all of your medical bills, and potentially even compensation for your pain and suffering. However, medical negligence can be an extremely complex topic, especially when dealing with laws that vary from state to state. To help make sure that you know what you’re getting into, here are some of the laws that you will encounter when filing a medical negligence lawsuit in California:
The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is pretty simple in most situations, but it can get a little trickier in medical malpractice cases. You have 3 years from the date of the injury to file your lawsuit. However, if you don’t actually discover the extent of your injuries for years, then you still have an opportunity to file. In that case, you have 1 year to file from the date of discovery.
In other words, you have a pretty sizable window of opportunity if you immediately realize that something is wrong. If you were treated negligently, then you have 3 whole years to prepare your lawsuit and gather your evidence. You may need to get the money that is necessary for a lawsuit, since you might end up with a chunk of legal fees.
On the other hand, discovering your injuries later can put you in a race against the clock. One year may seem like a long period of time, but it can take you quite a while to gather the necessary documentation. You will need to get a variety of medical documents that prove negligence, which means that you should begin your preparations as soon as possible.
Medical Malpractice Damage Caps
Like many states, California imposes a cap on certain damages in medical malpractice cases, which happens to be $250,000 in non-economic damages, as listed in 3333.2 of the California Civil Code.
This may sound like a pretty serious restriction, but it actually doesn’t affect all of your damages. In fact, this cap has no effect at all on your medical bills, lost wages, and future care. Those damages are not subject to any caps, meaning that you can ask for the full amounts in all of those categories without needing to worry about restrictions. What is restricted is pain and suffering, which is a pretty nebulous concept. The size of your non-economic damages will highly depend on the mood of the court and how well you have convinced them of the legitimacy of your case.
Ultimately, you don’t need to worry about getting your medical bills and lost wages covered, but you can hit an upper limit when it comes to asking for additional money for emotional and psychological stress.
To speak to a personal injury lawyer, contact a law firm such as Modesitt Law Offices PC.