Medical malpractice initiative qualifies for the ballot

A decades-long fight among powerful California interests is finally coming before voters, as the proponents of a push to increase the sum victims can recover in medical malpractice lawsuits announced Thursday that they've qualified for the November ballot.

Supporters including Consumer Watchdog want to raise the $250,000 cap on pain and suffering damages in malpractice cases. They argue the amount is inadequate to cover the cost of physician negligence and contend the current ceiling deters lawyers from accepting malpractice cases.

The initiative, the fifth to qualify for the fall election, would increase the limit on pain and suffering damages to about $1.1 million as well as peg it to inflation. The initiative's proponent is Robert S. Pack.

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