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California MedMal: What is MICRA and How It’s Likely to Change

TJ Payne - May 12, 2022

Medical Malpractice cases in California have had a hard cap of $250,000 for pain and suffering since 1975 following the passing of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, commonly known as MICRA. Now, a bill (AB 35) with across the aisle support is attempting to change that. Assuming AB 35 passes through California Legislature, Governor Gavin Newsom would need to sign the bill into law before June 28th. Should this come to pass (as many in California expect it to) we would see an overhaul of the cash settlement system for California MedMal cases for the first time in nearly 50 years.

Close up of a lot of law reports in library

“[The new] cap on pain and suffering awards [will be] $350,000 beginning Jan. 1. That amount would gradually increase over a 10-year period to $750,000.

In cases involving a patient’s death, the cap on pain and suffering awards would increase to $500,000 on Jan. 1 and would grow to $1 million over the next decade.

After that, the cap would be adjusted annually by a 2% cost of living increase.” Melody Gutierrez, LA Times

doctor handshake with a patient at doctors bright modern office in hospital

While the AB 35 would likely result in market changes, it should be noted that numerous doctors’ groups in California have marked this as a win. AB 35, were it signed into law, would thereby displace a ballot measure that aims to increase MedMal payouts to 1.2 million and removed all caps from catastrophic-injury claims.

“The compromise ensures we are keeping healthcare affordable and accessible, which is a priority for us, while balancing the appropriate compensation for Californians who experience healthcare-related injuries.” Jodi Hicks, President of Planned Parenthood of California

For more information, you can read the full article here.


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