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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Santa Monica, CA -- The California Department of Justice told the legislature today that it will delay implementation of a key technological tool for stemming the opioid abuse crisis until 2019, more than a year later than the database was deployed statewide.

02/06/2018 - 13:19

SAN JOSE, CA -- With the state of the state speech tomorrow, the parents of a child killed by a doctor who got off with only a public reprimand and consumer advocate Ralph Nader separately wrote Governor Jerry Brown to ask him to deal with California’s patient safety crisis. 

01/24/2018 - 10:15

Your job is to protect the public, not protect dangerous doctors.Sham 01/20/2018 - 10:20

Santa Monica, CA – The California Supreme Court today issued a decision affirming the right of the Medical Board of California to use the state prescription drug database to protect patients from incompetent and negligent doctors, and to prevent dangerous and illegal prescribing of opioids and ot

07/17/2017 - 16:07

Santa Monica, CA – Consumer Watchdog condemned today’s vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a bill taking away the rights of patients harmed by medical negligence, unsafe drugs, defective medical devices and nursing home abuse.

06/28/2017 - 15:51

Sacramento, CA – Physician oversight remains broken four years after a legislative review committee considered shutting down the Medical Board of California if it did not improve patient protection, Consumer Watchdog will testify today at the sunset review hearing into the future of the Board.

03/01/2017 - 14:09

SANTA MONICA, CA: The California Supreme Court said today it will review the constitutionality of

11/26/2014 - 00:00

SANTA MONICA, CA: Consumer Watchdog has joined the plaintiffs in Hughes v.

11/20/2014 - 00:00

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today Senator Barbara Boxer stood with mothers who lost their children to medical

09/03/2014 - 00:00

Santa Monica, CA – Californians should have the same right as Floridians to equal protection under the law in

03/13/2014 - 00:00