Last week, Charles Tony Piccuta, attended a mediation in San Jose, California in a medical malpractice case. Piccuta and his client, who is from Salinas, California, made the trip to San Jose where the mediation was conducted. The case was not settled at mediation and will be prepared for trial. Trial is scheduled for October 28, 2019.
The firm’s client sustained a burn injury. Images of our client’s burn injury are below.
The Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Filed By Our Monterey Personal Injury Attorneys
The medical malpractice case is entitled Orozco v. Dr. Michael Klassen, Et Al. and was filed in Monterey County Superior Court (Case #: 17CV002498). The personal injury lawsuit alleges that Dr. Klassen and his practice, Monterey Peninsula Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Institute, were negligent with respect to a laser treatment one of their employees performed on the firm’s client. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the laser treatment caused severe third degree burns to the client leaving her disfigured and requiring multiple skin grafts.
The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Klassen and his agents are guilty of medical malpractice for: 1) failing to provide adequate and safe medical treatment; 2) directing the laser on the flesh of the firm’s client for too long a period; 3) causing the laser to be operated at a temperature that was unsafe; and 4) failing to properly maintain the laser machine to ensure it functioned properly. The firm’s client further claims that Dr. Klassen and his practice were negligent in failing to train and supervise the employee who performed the laser procedure.
Click the following link to read the complaint that was filed to initiate the lawsuit. Orozco v. Dr. Michael Klassen
Dr. Klassen and Monterey Peninsula Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Institute both filed bankruptcy in 2018. Dr. Klassen’s practice is now defunct. Nevertheless, Dr. Klassen and his practice maintained a medical professional negligence policy which will allow the firm’s client to seek a recovery.
California Medical Malpractice Laws Make Cases Unattractive for Personal Injury Attorneys
Unfortunately for patients and the general public, California passed laws in 1975 that make medical malpractice cases difficult to pursue. The powerful medical lobbies in California passed specific legislation to limit the ability of patients, who were victims of medical malpractice, to recover for their injuries. This same legislation limited the attorney fees that can be recovered in a medical malpractice case. These limits were introduced to make personal injury attorneys not want to represent medical malpractice victims in personal injury cases against doctors and other health care providers.
The legislation that imposed these unfavorable laws is entitled the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act “MICRA”. The most unfavorable aspects of the Act, which became law, are set forth below:
- Pain and suffering damages are limited to $250,000 (California Civil Code § 3333.2)
- Attorneys contingent fees are Restricted (California Business and Professions Code § 6146)
- Patients must send a notice of their Intention to sue 90 days before filing a lawsuit (California Code of Civil Procedure §§ 364 and 365)
- Patients must file a lawsuit within one year from learning about the malpractice (or with reasonable diligence would have learned about it) or within three years from the date of the act leading to the injury (California Code of Civil Procedure § 340.5)
The unifying theme behind all these provisions is that they make medical malpractice cases difficult for a patient to advance. They drastically cut off the rights of victims and protect negligent doctors. The legislature went so far as to limit an attorney’s ability to recover fees so that patients would have a difficult time in finding attorneys who want to represent them in these cases.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the legislation is the fact that it limits a victim’s recovery of pain and suffering damages. The most anyone can receive for pain and suffering is $250,000. For example, if a person was paralyzed as a result of a doctor’s negligent surgery, the most that person could recover for his or her pain and suffering is $250,000. This holds true despite the fact that the legislation is from 1975. In other words, the amount of $250,000 was worth well more than it is today and that limiting amount has never been adjusted for inflation!
Contact a Monterey Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Case
Despite the laws that limit medical malpractice cases and make them unattractive to personal injury attorneys, our law firm still considers these cases. We firmly believe that laws, which are designed to protect professionals from liability for their negligent conduct, are unfair and dangerous. If you or a loved one has sustained a personal injury, contact one of our Monterey personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation.
About the author: The content on this page was authored and prepared by Monterey personal injury attorney Charles “Tony” Piccuta. He graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington in 2006 (Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report 2018). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Consumer Attorneys of California, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Arizona Association of Justice, among other organizations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Reading and relying upon the content on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact one of our Monterey personal injury attorneys and discuss your specific case and issues.