Bill to Raise Malpractice Caps/Limits in California Debated

The Wall street Journal recently reported that a California state law on medical malpractice awards, in place since 1975, which puts a $250,000 ceiling on the amount of money that can be given for noneconomic damages will possibly be amended.

Lawyers and some consumer groups are mounting an effort to substantially raise the cap through California’s referendum system. Opponents of the higher cap say changing the law would be disruptive just as providers are trying to implement the 2010 federal health-care overhaul.

The medical industry in California is fighting this effort with all their means. At last count, the industry had $31 million in campaign funds slated to fight the effort at the end of 2013.

The amount of California’s malpractice cap is near the low end among the 35 states that have some ceiling for such damages. Backers say the $250,000 amount is outdated, making it difficult to bring many cases to trial given the costs of expert testimony and litigation. The measure would raise the cap to $1.1 million and allow for further inflation adjustments.

A Florida Supreme Court this month declared unconstitutional those award limits in cases where a doctor’s mistakes lead to a patient’s death.


New York State currently has NO limits in malpractice awards that can awarded by either a judge or a jury of ones’ peers. The medical industry and powerful insurance companies and their lobbyists have made annual efforts to dismantle the current malpractice laws and initiate a ceiling or cap on damages. Despite these efforts along with the spending of vast sums of money, the New York State legislature has not passed any laws or even seriously considered the draconian, outdated laws currently in partial effect in some 35 states, including California.

Fortunately, The Law Firm of Steven I. Fried, PC is able to zealously represent our medical malpractice clients without having artificial ceilings to reduce damages where our clients have been maimed, injured and killed by negligent doctors, hospitals and various medical providers. Call us now at (888) 517-9958 for a free consultation.