If you live in California, you may have heard about Kaiser Permanente. It is the largest Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) in California and provides medical coverage and hospitalization to approximately 25% of all California residents. It does a great job for many people and provides affordable health care to millions in the state. However, when something goes wrong with your medical care at Kaiser Permanente, you cannot file a law suit nor do you have the right to a jury trial against Kaiser. This is because the health care contract that you signed with Kaiser prevents you from doing so. When you signed the contract, you essentially waived your rights to sue them in court. Any claims against Kaiser are resolved through binding arbitration. This decision, made in the case of Madden v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals 17 Cal. 3d 699. was upheld in the Supreme Court of California on August 10, 1975.
There are limited exceptions to the ruling, but the vast majority of all claims against Kaiser are resolved through binding arbitration. Arbitration hearings take place in front of one or more neutral arbitrators that both the plaintiff and defendant usually have a say in choosing. The arbitrators are usually retired judges and lawyers who decide the case based upon their interpretation of the law with the evidence presented. The decisions of the neutral arbitrator are final, legally binding, and enforceable in court. The decisions, with rare exception, cannot be challenged or changed. There is no right of appeal in a Kaiser arbitration. For Kaiser, the arbitration is a financial advantage, because over the years, the arbitration awards have been substantially less than what would have been awarded by a trial jury.
Because of the limited amount of time to file (Statue of limitations) in California, it is essential to contact expert legal counsel when you have experienced any medical negligence. The arbitration system at Kaiser can be rigorous and harsh. In order to prove and show that Kaiser was guilty of negligence, you will need the best medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your case and determine the best strategy to move forward. Mr. Elliott N. Kanter has 30+ years of experience as a medical malpractice attorney. Please fill out the confidential form or call our office today at 619-330-5881 for a free consultation.
This article is for educational purposes only and does not in any way constitute legal advice. It also does not establish an attorney-client relationship.