Can you win a lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente?

If you’re considering filing a lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente for medical negligence, you are usually required to go through Kaiser’s arbitration process.  As a member of Kaiser’s HMO, you don’t have the option of prosecuting medical malpractice claims in a court of law. The arbitration requirement is part of the contract that is usually negotiated by your employer. 

Kaiser is composed of three separate entities — the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Inc., and the Permanente Medical Group. The Kaiser Foundation Health Plan provides malpractice insurance for its employees. Starting in 1978, Kaiser has included a mandatory provision as part of their group policies that requires the use of a private arbitration process for all Kaiser cases of medical malpractice. 

Medical negligence cases can involve:

  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnose
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Failure to order proper testing
  • Medical delays in diagnosing or treatment
  • Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
  • Improper medication or dosage
  • Poor follow-up care or aftercare

Although Kaiser’s arbitration has to follow the laws of California regarding medical malpractice, it eliminates the jury trial, a valued part of our legal system. In a court trial, jurors decide the case based upon the malpractice laws and the testimony of expert witnesses, and they determine the amount of compensation.

Winning a case against Kaiser requires knowledge and experience in dealing with the arbitration process as well as settling malpractice cases within the Kaiser arbitration system. Statistics show that patients who go to arbitration without a lawyer lose the case in summary judgement between 50% – 75% of the time. Kaiser has good lawyers that represent them in cases of malpractice. Therefore, you need to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you throughout the arbitration process.

Experience helps

When suing Kaiser, hiring an attorney who is familiar with the complexities of a Kaiser Arbitration hearing and who will aggressively protect your rights throughout the process is crucial to winning against Kaiser. 

Consider the case of Anna Rahm, a 23-year old Cal State Northridge student who won a $28.2 million lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente in 2017. In this particular instance, Ms. Rahm’s case was presented in front of a jury vs. arbitration. Ms. Rahm was the victim of medical delays in accurately diagnosing osteosarcoma, an aggressive cancer, in her pelvis. As a result, she lost her right leg, half of her pelvis, and part of her spine. The arguments presented by her attorneys were that Kaiser’s refusal to give her an MRI resulted in the loss of her leg and, therefore, was an example of medical negligence.

Scott S. Harris, San Diego medical malpractice attorney, has more than 30 years of experience when it comes to handling medical malpractice cases, including those involving Kaiser arbitration hearings.  He has a great track record successfully litigating cases vs Kaiser and arriving at fair and equitable settlements through negotiations. In cases involving severe and permanent injuries or wrongful death, he will work aggressively to see that your case goes before a jury. 

Tell us about your case

If you have a complaint against Kaiser for medical malpractice, contact our office to schedule your free case consultation.  Medical malpractice attorney, Scott S. Harris, handles cases in a range of medical malpractice areas.