Medical Malpractice in California

Medical malpractice in California is a serious issue that typically requires legal attention. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a negligent act (or omission to act) by a health care provider in the rendering of professional services that causes personal injury or wrongful death, then you may be entitled to financial compensation. Here’s what you need to know.

Who Is Liable For Medical Malpractice In California?

California medical malpractice laws apply to the following types of health care professionals and facilities:

  • Doctors
  • Chiropractors
  • Podiatrists
  • Nurses
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Psychologists
  • Physical therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Laboratories

What Damages Can Be Sued For?

Patients injured by medical malpractice in California may qualify for compensation of the following damages:

  • Medical bills for medical treatment and medication
  • Home health medical care
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Emotional trauma, such as pain and suffering

How Much Financial Compensation Can Victims Receive?

California law caps non-economic damage awards in medical malpractice lawsuits at $250,000. This cap applies to losses that include but are not limited to pain, suffering, inconvenience, scarring, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of life enjoyment, and loss of the use of an organ or limb.

Can Plaintiffs Recover Compensation For Punitive Damages?

A plaintiff seeking compensation for punitive damages must provide clear and convincing evidence that the defendant committed oppression, fraud, or malice. This means demonstrating the defendant’s conduct was despicable and done either intentionally or with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.

How Much Time Do Plaintiffs Have To File A Lawsuit?

The California statute of limitations for medical malpractice depends on the age of the plaintiff. Adult plaintiffs must file a lawsuit for medical malpractice within three years after the date of the injury, or one year after the plaintiff discovers the injury — whichever is earlier.

For minors under age 18, the statute of limitations runs until the later of:

  • Three years from the date of the alleged wrongful act
  • By the minor’s eighth birthday if the minor was less than six years old at the time of injury

The exceptions to the statute of limitations may be paused during periods in which:

  • The health care provider commits fraud
  • The health care provider intentionally conceals wrongdoing
  • A foreign body has no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose or effect inside the plaintiff
  • A minor’s parent has conspired with the defendant’s insurer or health care provider not to bring a malpractice action on behalf of the injured minor

How Does A Victim Prove Professional Negligence In Medical Malpractice?

Negligence is characterized by a failure to use the level of skill, knowledge, and care that other reasonably careful practitioners would use in the same or similar circumstances.

To prove negligence, plaintiffs will need a testimony of one or more expert witnesses. The plaintiff must also prove that the defendant’s breach of the standard of care caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

Oracle Law Firm has helped many victims of medical malpractice secure the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured by medical malpractice, give us a call to begin your legal case.


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