Health

Understanding the Fairness for Injured Patients Act

This article will run you through everything you need to know about this act and its benefits.

In the state of California, the maximum amount that a patient can claim in a malpractice suit is $250,000. The Fairness for Injured Patients Act may change that for some Californians. 

This article will run you through everything you need to know about this act and its benefits. 

What is the Fairness for Injured Patients Act

The Fairness for Injured Patients Act (FIPA) will extend the current compensation top imposed on injured patients. 

Politicians in Sacramento, California, passed a law in 1975 that has never been amended. The law says that the compensation for an injured patient cannot exceed 250,000 dollars despite the extent or seriousness of their injuries or the medical negligence by a doctor.

If passed, the Fairness for Injured Patients Act will reflect a level of compensation that will match inflation today. The amount is outdated, as it was an amount put forth in 1975. A vote on the act will decide whether the monetary amount is to be adjusted to allow judges and juries to increase the amount awarded in permanent disability or death to an influx cap of 1.2 million dollars. 

The initiative will ensure that jurors know of the current cap of 250,000 dollars – something they are not aware of when they award a dollar amount to a plaintiff. Supporters of the act have signed a petition hoping to change the current laws regarding the sum of money available to patients.

A jury may award the victim of a malpractice suit millions of dollars, but they are not made aware of the 250,000 cap that will be put in place for a lifetime of expenses due to an antiquated law.

Who Does the Act Benefit?

The cap on the amount of money received due to the negligence of a physician affects all Californians. But Hispanic, Black, and Indigenous, or low-income patients are hurt the most, as well as women and children. 

Most of the minorities mentioned cannot afford to pay for the care needed to live a decent life or support the life of someone they are now tending for decades. Often, caregivers leave their jobs to support their loved one who was wrongfully harmed, which means they can’t afford expenses.

Dissolving the cap in congress would allow families to receive adequate compensation according to injury and the medical and financial support needed to care for those injured throughout their lives.

What the Fairness Act Means

Take the story of Mia, a 5-year old girl who was born healthy until her parents found out that she suffered from a tumor. The doctor in charge of watching over Mia was allegedly negligent. Mia’s parents allege that the doctor did not monitor the line appropriately and, she was over-sedated, causing her heart to stop.

Mia now has cerebral palsy and little control over her own body’s movement. She will require care for her life that her parents cannot afford and that the current cap of 250,000 dollars would not begin to cover.

Compensation Cap Varies by State

California has the most strict laws regarding compensation for injured patients, but not all states have a cap regarding noneconomic damages. These progressive states include:

  • Alabama 
  • Washington
  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • Vermont

The only states to have a cap of 250,000 dollars are:

  • California
  • Montana
  • Texas

Several state laws on the amount of compensation awarded to a patient are being reviewed and challenged. For a complete list of the states and their standing regarding the compensation cap for injured patients, click here.

Final Word

The Fairness for Injured Patients Act aims to help protect the rights of California residents who are not given fair compensation for loss of a loved one or permanent injuries or disabilities caused by medical negligence. 

Not all states have amended their outdated law. Until the law is amended to reflect the pain, suffering, and expenses of the patient affected, the fairness act for patients will continue to be forefront throughout America.

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