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Medical Malpractice Attorney

“What Do I Need To Know About Medical Malpractice Law?”

“Medical malpractice” involves a health care provider's negligence in the rendering of services. The negligence must have been the proximate cause of a personal injury or a wrongful death. Finally, the services had to be of the kind for which the provider is licensed, and not within any restriction imposed by a relevant licensing agency or licensed hospital.

Unfortunately, there are patients in this state who have received substandard medical care. Some patients have been improperly advised about side effects of their treatment. There are even persons who've been made to endure unnecessary treatment. These acts are forms of medical malpractice (as are omissions of duty to patients). All who've been victimized by this kind of wrongdoing have the right to compensation for their suffering and money for additional/supplemental medical treatment costs.

The Kann California Law Group now offers Medical Malpractice law representation. Unlike criminal law, which is concerned primarily with incarceration, Medical Malpractice law focuses on compensating for injuries and remunerating for lost earnings. Below you'll find information on defining Medical Malpractice in California, facts about who can be sued for Medical Malpractice in this state, information on recoverable damages in a Medical Malpractice lawsuit, help on the question of whether Medical Malpractice damage awards are limited, facts about getting a punitive damage award in a Medical Malpractice lawsuit, a statement about the amount of time the state allows you to sue, and information on proving negligence in medical practice. Please feel free to contact the attorneys at the Kann California Law Group in Santa Clarita, Ventura, Encino, Pasadena, Los Angeles/Los Angeles County, Orange, Santa Barbara, Kern, San Bernardino, or Riverside Counties with further questions. Your call will go directly to a lawyer. It is always guaranteed.

What is Medical Malpractice in California?

California's Code of Civil Procedure (CIV) includes malpractice as a specie of “professional negligence” under Section 3333.1.[1] The relevant subpart allows us to conclude that medical malpractice requires: 1) A negligent act or omission to act; 2) committed by a health care provider; 3) occurring in the rendering of professional services; 4) which is the proximate cause of a personal injury or wrongful death; 5) provided that such services are within the scope of services for which the provider is licensed; and, 6) which aren't within any restriction imposed by the agency licensing the provider or licensed hospital.

Persons Who Can Be Sued For Medical Malpractice in California

The range of persons who can be made civilly liable for medical malpractice in California is, to say the least, very broad. Included are: Medical doctors; surgeons; psychiatrists; psychologists; registered nurses; pharmacists; anesthesiologists; and clinics, hospitals, and laboratories as a whole. But this list is not exhaustive. Contact the Kann California Law Group to learn about whether you can sue a particular person, institution, or entity.

Awards Available in California Medical Malpractice Law

The following are awards available to compensate you for injuries and suffering sustained because of medical malpractice.

  • Medical Costs: The award may include the cost of long-term hospital care, the expenses associated with physical or occupational therapy, and prescription/drug costs, among other provisions.
  • Loss of Earnings/Wages: An award creating compensation for lost wages because medical malpractice caused you to miss work.
  • Loss of Earning Capacity: An award compensating you for the loss of the ability to earn money because of medical malpractice.
  • Pain and Suffering Compensation: Amounts meant to compensate you for “[p]ast and future physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, humiliation and/or emotional distress”[2] suffered after medical malpractice.
  • Wrongful Death: Money compensating for financial support, if any, the decedent would've contributed; funeral and burial expenses; the reasonable value of household services; loss of love, companionship, and comfort; the loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations; and more.[3] For more information on Wrongful Death claims please click to see our Wrongful Death Law page and for broader personal injury law information click on our Personal Injury Law page.

Note: This list is not exhaustive. If it isn't included here, contact us here at the Kann California Law Group with your specific concern. We're certain we can fashion an award that will adequately compensate you for your medical malpractice injuries.

“I've Heard That Damage Awards In Medical Malpractice Suits Are Limited. Is That True?”

There's no limit (or “cap”) imposed on compensatory damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, with the exception of those created by CIV § [Section] 3333.2.[4] The statute places a $250,000 damage cap on so-called ‘noneconomic damage' awards. Such awards tend to be hard to quantify. They include: Pain and suffering; the value of lost use of an organ or a limb; compensation for your inconvenience; money for the loss of enjoyment of your life; and compensation for scarring or other disfigurement you may suffer.

Note: This list is not exhaustive. If it isn't included here, contact us here at the Kann California Law Group with your specific concern. We're certain we can fashion an award that will adequately compensate you for your medical malpractice injuries.

Punitive Damages in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Punitive damages (damages, above ordinary compensation, which are meant as punishment) are awardable in Medical Malpractice lawsuits. Qualifying for a punitive damage award requires showing malice, oppression, or fraud. These can be demonstrated by proving the defendant's behavior was egregious, typically, or by proving the defendant lied to the plaintiff or concealed facts. You can also do so by showing the defendant's willful indifference or gross negligence in providing medical services.

How Much Time Does California Give You to File Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?

California's Statute of Limitations ordinarily provides two years to file suit, beginning with the date of the injury that forms the basis of a Medical Malpractice lawsuit.[5] There are, however, different time frames established under state law, which can apply differently, depending on age and what the plaintiff could presumably have known.


1. Limitations: Filing Adult Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Adults (persons aged eighteen or older) have a year to sue beginning with the date of discovering they have been the victim of medical malpractice. However, they can sue more than three years after the malpractice injury date if the injury was intentionally concealed.[6] For actions filed in “survival,”[7] the victim's estate has two (2) years to sue from the later of: 1) The date of an injury; or, 2) six (6) months after the death of the victim.

      2. Limitations: Filing Minor Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Minors (persons younger than eighteen) have until the later of the following dates to file a Medical Malpractice lawsuit: 1) The minor's eighth (8) birthday, if the minor was younger than six (6) at the time of the injury; or, 2) three (3) years from the date of the injurious act.[8]

  • Filing Exceptions

The running of the Statute of Limitations may be stopped, as alluded to above, if the defendant committed fraud or intentionally concealed his/her/its' wrongdoing. However, the running may also be stopped (or “tolled”) if there's a foreign body that has no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose or effect left inside the injured person, or if a minor's parent has colluded with the defendant's insurer or health care provider so as not to bring a malpractice action on behalf of the injured minor.[9]

Proving Negligence in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Proving negligence in medical malpractice lawsuits requires demonstrating the existence of the basic elements of liability in a negligence suit. These are:

  • Negligence: The defendant was negligent; AND,
  • Harm: The plaintiff was harmed; AND,
  • Substantial Factor: The defendant's negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff's harm.

Generally, negligence is “the failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm to oneself or to others.” Specifically, “[a] person can be negligent by acting or by failing to act. A person is [also] negligent if he or she does something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation.”[10]

Note: The “substantial factor” prong of the pleading means that your claim must prove the defendant's breach caused your injuries. A poor diagnosis of your ailment does not qualify as malpractice, therefore, nor does prescribing a course of treatment which might theoretically have imperiled your health. The provider's act or omission had to have produced actual injury.

Additionally, the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur[11] (“the thing speaks for itself”) allows proof of medical malpractice liability by process of deduction if:

  • Harm…/Negligent: The plaintiff's harm ordinarily would not have happened unless someone was negligent; AND,
  • Defendant Controlled: The harm was caused by something that only the defendant controlled; AND,
  • Plaintiff…/Did Not Cause or Contribute: The plaintiff's voluntary actions did not cause or

contribute to the event(s) that harmed him or her.

Note: “If the plaintiff has established the three conditions that give rise to the doctrine, the jury is required to find that the accident resulted from the defendant's negligence unless the defendant comes forward with evidence that would support a contrary finding.”[12]

Contact the Kann California Law Group

The State of California regards Medical Malpractice law as a serious concern. If you've suffered a medical malpractice injury it's essential that you retain a skilled, dedicated attorney as soon as possible. Your rights and livelihood may be at stake.

Remember, a professional Medical Malpractice law attorney may be able to:

  • Negotiate an award;
  • Win your case at trial;
  • Or obtain other legal relief to which you may be entitled.

The attorneys here at the Kann California Law Group have an excellent understanding of the local courts and an extensive knowledge of California's personal injury justice system. We can represent you in Ventura, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, Encino, Pasadena, Orange, Santa Barbara, Kern, Riverside, or San Bernardino Counties, and many other Southern California cities counties.

If you or someone you know is suing for a medical malpractice injury, our attorneys will evaluate the facts of your case and plan a strategy that will obtain the best possible outcome.

Contact us here at the Kann California Law Group today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. You can contact us through our website contact form or call us at 888-744-7730. You will be able to speak with one of our personal injury law attorneys right away. 


[1] See California Civil Code [CIV] §§ [Sections] 3333.1 (a), (c) (2).  

[2] See California Civil Jury Instructions 3905A (CACI) (2017).

[3] Compensation is available separately for the loss of minor children. See California Civil Jury Instructions 3922 (CACI) (2017).

[4] See CIV §3333.2 (b).

[5] See Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1.

[6] See CCP §340.5.

[7] California Code of Civil Procedure §377.60 makes it possible for a person's estate to sue on behalf of the victim of another person's wrongful conduct. These actions are known as “survival actions.” Survival suits are brought on behalf of the victim's estate. See CCP §377.60.

[8] See Endnote 6.

[9] See above.

[10] See California Civil Jury Instructions 401 (CACI) (2017).

[11] See “Res Ipsa Loquitur Law and Legal Definition” at UsLegal.com.

[12] See “Directions for Use,” California Civil Jury Instructions 417 (CACI) (2017). (Emphasis added.)