Patient Safety

Fairness Act

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, have filed the Fairness for Injured Patients Act (FIPA), a proposed initiative for the November 2020 California ballot.   The ballot measure is a continuation of Consumer Watchdog's decades-long work to improve patient safety, help injured patients get justice and hold those who commit medical malfeasance accountable.

FIPA would adjust the maximum $250,000 compensation cap set in 1975 by the legislature on quality of life and wrongful death survivor damages that has never been updated. The initiative adjusts the compensation cap for inflation, allows judges and jurors to decide that compensation above the cap is appropriate in certain cases of catastrophic injury or death, and requires that juries be informed about the existence of the cap. 

California’s maximum $250,000 compensation cap set by the legislature 45 years ago is worth 80 percent less today, only $50,768 in 1975 dollars. Indexing the $250,000 cap for inflation would raise it to $1,231,084.45 in today’s dollars.

Read the press release about filing of the ballot measure by families of injured patients.

More than half the states in the nation do not have caps like California. 20 states and the District of Columbia have no caps at all. 14 other states have caps with exemptions for wrongful death or catastrophic injury. California is 1 of just 3 states with a cap as low as $250,000 with no exceptions. 

 


 

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GALLERY: Injured Patients Denied Justice In California

Medical Negligence Reports & Resources:

  • How Insurance Reform Lowered Doctor's Medical Malpractice Rates In California: And How Malpractice Caps Failed In this groundbreaking report, Consumer Watchdog shows the success of insurance regulation and dispels the myth that California's malpractice cap -- the model for so many proposals around the country -- is responsible for reducing insurance premiums in the state.

  • Medical Malpractice Premiums Graph This graph (published in the Sacramento Bee) compares what happened to malpractice insurance premiums after "MICRA," California's damage cap law, passed in 1975 and after the passage of insurance reform Proposition 103 in 1988. Hint: The result wasn’t what proponents of MICRA promised.

  • Rate Savings Chart Rate challenges brought by Consumer Watchdog under insurance reform Proposition 103's public participation process have saved doctors in California $77 million. View the chart detailing each unjustified malpractice insurance rate increase.

Resource Page: Medical Negligence

Patient Safety Articles

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

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.