Fairness Act

ab35 signing

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.

That deal was signed into law in May 2022 and law will restore injured families’ access to justice.

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.

Kira Johnson

Meet FIPA proponent Scott Olsen and his 30-year-old son Steven, who has permanent brain damage from medical negligence when he was two.

Scott Olsen

Meet FIPA proponents Nelson and Bree Moreno and their daughter Mia, who has cerebral palsy and will never be independent due to medical negligence.

Mia

Meet more patients denied justice in California because of the 45-year-old limits on patient rights.

GET THE FACTS

Los Angeles, CA – California is worse than two-thirds of states in the country when it comes to disciplining doctors whose negligence or incompetence causes patients serious harm, according to a new report by the nonprofit consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen.  The report comes

04/08/2021 - 09:32

Sacramento, CA – Consumer Watchdog and a dozen Fairness for Injured Patients campaign advocates who were harmed by medical negligence and failed by the Medical Board of California will call on the legislature to turn control of the doctor-run Board over to the public, in testimony on Fri

03/18/2021 - 09:57

Manteca, CA -- A coalition of Central Valley racial justice groups announced their endorsement of the Fairness for Injured Patients Act, the 2022 ballot initiative to update California’s discriminatory cap on compensation for patients harmed by medical negligence. 
 

02/09/2021 - 09:05

Sacramento, CA – Two former leaders of the California Medical Association should be rejected as nominees to the Medical Board of California for their records opposing common sense patient safety reforms, Consumer Watchdog will testify at their confirmation hearing today.

02/03/2021 - 10:06

Sacramento, CA – Consumer Watchdog renewed its call for Governor Gavin Newsom to withdraw the nomination of Dr. Richard Thorp, former president of the doctors’ lobby, to the Medical Board of California.

01/13/2021 - 11:11

Los Angeles, CA -- An HIV positive man filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court to coincide with World AIDS Day against a surgeon and medical group for refusing to treat him because of his HIV status.   

12/01/2020 - 11:01

Manteca, CA – The family of Shawn Washington, a 29-year-old Black man killed by medical negligence at Kaiser Manteca Medical Center, called on the Medical Board of California and the California Department of Public Health to hold his medical providers, and the hospital where he died, acc

09/24/2020 - 10:10

Los Angeles, CA - As California courts and voters confront the injustice of the state’s 45-year-old limits on the rights of medical negligence victims, Consumer Watchdog celebrates World Patient Safety Day on Sept.

09/17/2020 - 09:40