After Californians organized to update the cap and gathered enough signatures to place the Fairness for Injured Patients Act on the November 2022 California ballot, their efforts were rewarded by Governor Newsom’s historic signature on legislation to update California’s 47-year-old medical malpractice damage cap and restore injured patients’ access to justice.
Proponents of the Fairness for Injured Patients Act, including Consumer Watchdog board member Scott Olsen, withdrew the initiative measure that spurred the legislative compromise from the ballot in response to the legislative compromise.
The bill, AB 35, will restore families’ access to justice by:
- Increasing the cap to $500,000 for wrongful death cases and $350,000 for injury cases on January 1 of 2023.
- Raising the cap in increments every year for ten years, until it reaches $1 million for wrongful death cases and $750,000 for injury cases in 2033.
- Allowing for up to three separate caps in cases when multiple providers and institutions are responsible. Starting next year the maximum cap could be $1.5 million for wrongful death cases, and $1.05 million for injury cases. By 2033 it will be a maximum $3 million for wrongful death and $2.25 million for injury cases.
- Increasing the cap by 2% every year starting in 2034.
See below for a history of cases from Californians harmed by medical negligence because of a cap set in 1975 by the state legislature that limited compensation for lost quality of life and wrongful death, and had never been updated.
The cap hurts every Californian, but disproportionately harms Black, Hispanic and Indigenous people, low-income patients, women, and children.
Meet campaign chair Charles Johnson, whose wife Kira died after giving birth when her bladder was cut and her complaints of pain were negligently ignored for 10 hours.
Meet FIPA proponent Scott Olsen and his 30-year-old son Steven, who has permanent brain damage from medical negligence when he was two.
Meet FIPA proponents Nelson and Bree Moreno and their daughter Mia, who has cerebral palsy and will never be independent due to medical negligence.
- Consumer Watchdog endorses the Fairness for Injured Patients Act to win equal justice for survivors of medical negligence. Read the press release.
- Learn more about the 45-year-old cap
- Newspaper editorial boards agree it’s time to adjust the cap
- Most states in America do not have caps like California’s
- Medical negligence caps harm women of color
- Questions and Answers About the Fairness for Injured Patients Act
- Read the Fairness for Injured Patients Act
- The discriminatory impact of caps on communities of color