Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Oakland Personal Injury Lawyer / Blog / Medical Malpractice / Governor Signs Bill Changing Rules for Medical Malpractice

Governor Signs Bill Changing Rules for Medical Malpractice


In May of 2023, Governor Newsom signed AB 35, a piece of legislation that modernized how medical malpractice lawsuits are litigated in the State of California. The bill was supported by entities on both sides of the debate. The new law makes two significant changes to MICRA (the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act) which includes limits on attorney’s fees and an increase in damage caps.

In this article, the Oakland, CA medical malpractice attorneys at Venardi Zurada will take a look at the new rules and how they work.

Changes to attorney’s fees under the new legislation

Under the old system, the law placed limitations on contingency fees an attorney could collect in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The old system was based on how much money was recovered. An attorney could collect 40% of the first $50,000 recovered, 33% of the next $50,000, 25% of the next $500,000, and 15% of anything over $600,000. The new legislation instead ties tiered fee limits to the stage of representation at which the amount is recovered.

Changes to damage caps in a medical malpractice lawsuit

The new legislation also increases the damage caps for noneconomic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Under the old legislation, a plaintiff could only recover $250,000 in noneconomic damages. The new legislation establishes two different caps that depend on whether or not the case is a wrongful death or medical injury case. In a wrongful death case, the cap increases to $500,000. The cap will increase annually on January 1st of every year by $50,000 until it reaches $1 million. If the medical malpractice case only involves injury, then there is a $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages which increases each year by $40,000 until it hits $750,000.

What are noneconomic damages?

Economic damages include any damages that cost a plaintiff money. These include medical expenses and lost wages in a medical malpractice suit. Noneconomic damages are those that are not tied to any economic loss suffered by the plaintiff. These include pain and suffering damages and decreased quality of life. In the State of California, noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits were capped at $250,000 per plaintiff. Under the revised legislation, the cap will increase to $350,000 for an injury case and $500,000 for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Noneconomic damages also include trauma suffered by the victim of medical malpractice. This can include loss of consortium, loss of society, and other losses that are not easily quantifiable but still represent actionable damages.

The new legislation still places limits on medical malpractice lawsuits but adjusts recovery for inflation and other factors related to serious bodily injury. The law does not impact economic damages which can still go into the millions of dollars.

Talk to an Oakland, CA Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

Venardi Zurada represents the interests of Oakland residents who have been injured due to the negligent practice of medicine. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation, and we can begin discussing your case immediately.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn