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

Your job is to protect the public, not protect dangerous doctors.Sham

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

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.

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.

SANTA MONICA, CA: The California Supreme Court said today it will review the constitutionality of the state’s arbitrary 39-year-old damages cap of $250,000 in medical malpractice cases in Hughes v. Pham. Last week, Consumer Watchdog wrote an amicus letter asking the Court to review Hughes and overturn this decades-old injustice.

SANTA MONICA, CA: Consumer Watchdog has joined the plaintiffs in Hughes v. Pham in asking that the California Supreme Court review the constitutionality of the state’s arbitrary 39-year-old damages cap of $250,000 in medical malpractice cases.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today Senator Barbara Boxer stood with mothers who lost their children to medical negligence in calling on California voters to support for the patient safety protections in Proposition 46. The campaign supporting Prop 46 also released an ad featuring Barbara Boxer.

Santa Monica, CA – Californians should have the same right as Floridians to equal protection under the law in cases of medical negligence, said Consumer Watchdog Campaign today after the Florida Supreme Court ruled the state’s cap on medical negligence damages is unconstitutional.  Signatures will be turned in beginning next week for a ballot measure that would increase protections for harmed California patients by

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