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.

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Sacramento, CA -- Medical negligence survivors and advocates for a proposed ballot measure launched a petition signature drive for the Fairness for Injured Patients Act (FIPA), which will adjust the compensation cap imposed on injured patients by Sacramento politicians in 1975 that has never been 12/16/2019 - 09:50

Sacramento, CA -- The father of a 29-year-old man disabled for life by medical negligence when he was two and the parents of a young girl with life-long disabilities, who await their daughter’s medical negligence trial, filed

09/26/2019 - 13:16

Last week SB 325, a bill by Senator Jerry Hill to require the state of California to license and oversee outpatient substance abuse treatment centers, faced its first test in the legislature. It passed the Senate Health Committee unanimously.

04/15/2019 - 17:28

Milpitas, CA – Patient safety advocates testified to the Medical Board of California today that its initiative to investigate excessive prescribing by doctors involved in prescription overdose deaths is critical to state efforts to end the opioid overdose epidemic.

02/01/2019 - 09:54

Given the divide in America, it’s truly been remarkable how much we have accomplished together in 2018. Below's just some of what we accomplished in 2018, and you can also watch this short highlights video about our victories.

12/29/2018 - 10:11
KTTV, Los Angeles - Consumer Watchdog Lauds New CA Law That Would Require Doctors to Check Drug Prescription Database 10/03/2018 - 15:47

Sacramento, CA -- Doctors in California will have to be honest with their patients if they are on probation for sexual assa

09/19/2018 - 16:50

A win in the California statehouse on the last day of session usually means not losing too much, but last night California consumers  scored tangible victories.

Here is last night's statehouse scorecard:

09/01/2018 - 12:41

Sacramento, CA – California would be the first state in the nation to mandate doctors tell their patients when they are disciplined for sexual assault or other patient harm under legislation that passed the Assembly and Senate today and goes to Governor Brown's desk.

08/31/2018 - 13:58

Los Angeles, CA – A new app released by the Medical Board of California today cannot replace a simple in-person disclosure as the best way to notify patients if their doctor has been disciplined for causing patient harm, said Consumer Watchdog.

07/26/2018 - 15:50

Los Angeles, CA – The state must launch an immediate investigation into a Fresno hospital and its executives accused by whistleblowers of covering up years of negligence and substance abuse by a cardiac surgeon who was a significant source of revenue for the hospital, Consumer Watchdog w

07/12/2018 - 12:44

Sacramento, CA – Legislation to lift the veil of secrecy around physician sexual assault and other patient harm today passed its final policy committee, the Assembly Business & Professions Committee, with a 15 – 1 vote.

06/19/2018 - 11:39

Every doctor in California will soon be required to use the most powerful tool we have to identify and prevent opioid abuse: the state prescription drug database known as CURES.

05/01/2018 - 16:20

Sacramento, CA -- Doctors on probation for sexually assaulting their patients and for other serious misconduct causing patient harm would be required to disclose this to their patients under SB 1448 (Hill), which passed out of the Senate Business and Professions Committee on Monday with bipartisa

04/24/2018 - 13:32

Los Angeles, CA – Patients who were sexually assaulted by doctors and lost loved ones to doctors’ negligence shared their medical horror stories today and pressed the California Medical Board to adopt a new Patient Bill of Rights and ensure future patients are protected.

04/19/2018 - 12:58

Los Angeles, CA – The nonprofit patient advocacy group Consumer Watchdog called on state regulators to immediately suspend the license of a Salinas doctor being prosecuted by the Monterey County District Attorney’s office for sexually assaulting a patient.

04/03/2018 - 15:55