While we believe that the following information regarding the medical malpractice laws in the various states of the United States was accurate when written, laws in various states do change over time and you should not rely on the information below but rather seek the advice of a knowledgeable and competent medical malpractice lawyer in your state regarding the current and relevant medical malpractice laws in your state. The information below is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
The cap on noneconomic damages is $250,000. The statute of limitations is the first to occur of either three years after the injury or one year after discovery of the injury (for minors under age 6, three years or by age 8, whichever is longer). Modified joint liability: defendants are proportionately liable for noneconomic damages based on their percentage of fault. Attorney fees cannot exceed 40% of the first $50,000, one-third of the next $50,000, 25% of the next $500,000, and 15% of damages in excess of $600,000. Periodic payments of future damages in excess of $50,000 must be made if requested by any party. No requirement for an affidavit or certificate of merit. For claims involving emergency medical services provided in acute care hospitals, special rules apply with regard to experts.
On May 23, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 35, legislation to modernize the system for awarding damages in medical malpractice cases in California. The legislation was supported by consumer groups, trial attorneys, health care insurers, and health care providers, marking the end to one of the longest running political battles in California politics.
The new law increases the existing $250,000 cap on non-economic damages and provides for future increases to account for inflation. The legislation establishes two separate caps, depending on whether a wrongful death claim is involved. In a wrongful death case, the cap increases to $500,000. Each January 1st thereafter, this cap increases by $50,000 until it reaches $1 million. If the medical malpractice case does not involve wrongful death, the cap starts at $350,000, and increases each year by $40,000 until it reaches $750,000.
The prior law placed limitations on the contingency fee an attorney can contract for or collect. The prior system tied the limits to the amount recovered. An attorney could collect 40 percent of the first $50,000 recovered, 33 percent of the next $50,000, 25 percent of the next $500,000, and 15 percent of anything that exceeded $600,000. The new law ties tiered fee limits to the stage of the representation at which the amount is recovered.