Are California Doctors Protected Against Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
Yes and no. Doctors can be sued, certainly in the State of California, if, in fact, they have committed malpractice, meaning that they deviated from the standard of care and that deviation caused serious injury to a patient. In California, however, they are somewhat protected. There is a cap or a limit on how much a patient or a family of a patient who, perhaps, is now deceased as result of malpractice can receive.
There are economic damages such as loss of earnings or ongoing medical care not otherwise covered by insurance that may be recovered in a malpractice case that is not capped. A different category of damage is called pain and suffering or loss of a loved one, the emotional loss that may occur as a result of a serious injury. That element of damage is limited to $250,000 in California. In some sense, that cap does protect doctors, and at times, it makes it difficult to take on a case because of the limited economic value placed by that artificial cap.
In general, any doctor who commits malpractice can be sued, however, if the case is limited because of that cap of $250,000, many lawyers may not pursue that case. I would recommend that if you have any question concerning the merits of a case and whether or not a doctor should be sued, that you contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney so that he may evaluate the merits of your case.