Malpractice Damages the Same for Kaiser & Non-Kaiser Patients

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Although Kaiser Permanente medical and hospital malpractice victims must go through arbitration, their possible damages are identical to those who are injured outside of the Kaiser system – which may include damages for physical injuries and those to your pocketbook.

J. Niley Dorit, a California medical malpractice attorney, says that there aren’t any differences in the types of damages an injured Kaiser patient can receive versus a non-Kaiser patient. In fact, by law, the damages are identical. He explained:

There are two main categories of damages. The first are what I call damages to the person – which are physical injuries, paralysis, death, and those kinds of damages are limited to $250,000 by law in California – whether you’re in the Kaiser system or not. The other category is what I call damages to the purse or to the pocketbook – which are the costs of future care or the loss of income.

Both of those are recoverable, and there is no artificial limit or legal damages cap on the cost of future care or loss of income, except as what the evidence shows. So in a given case, there may be the death of a retired spouse and the maximum they’d be entitled to for the death would be $250,000. Because the person is retired, there’s no loss of income, but there may be a smaller loss for services around the household, in other words, a spouse helping do things to maintain a household.

If the death involves a working spouse who is young and supporting a family, then the damages for the death by itself would be capped at $250,000. However, the lost value of income can also be recovered on top of that.

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