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The Fairness for Injured Patients Act (FIPA)

The Problem

In 1975, the California legislature limited the legal rights of patients and their families who are harmed or killed by medical negligence.

A $250,000 cap was placed on the amount that an injured patient or their families could recoup for pain, suffering, and lost quality of life, no matter how devastating their injury, even in cases resulting in death. Nearly 50 years later, the cap has never been adjusted for inflation. It is worth less than $50,000 today. Juries aren’t informed about the existence of the cap on compensation, even when they have determined that the harm done far exceeds that limit.

California’s cap is the most regressive in America and prevents many patients from ever getting justice.

With no accountability to patients, the law makes our health care system less safe for everyone.

The cap disproportionately harms:

  • Low-income patients – by making wealth a determining factor in whether a person can becompensated for medical
  • People of color – who are more likely to receive a lower standard of medical care and experience higher rates of preventable medical errors.
  • Children and retirees – whose lives the cap devalues because they are not wage-earners.
  • Women – who earn less on average than men, and are more likely to suffer harm that is subject to thecap, like reproductive harm or the loss of a pregnancy.

The cap has devastated patient safety and physician accountability in California:

  • It closes the courtroom door for patients harmed by medical negligence by preventing them from finding an attorney.
  • It pushes the cost of medical negligence onto society by requiring public programs or private insurance to pick up the tab for a wrongdoer’s negligence.
  • It makes health care less safe by letting medical providers off the hook when they negligently cause patients’ injury or death.

The Solution

The Fairness for Injured Patients Act restores the rights of patients harmed by medical negligence and the family members they leave behind.

The initiative will:

  • Adjust for inflation the $250,000 cap set in 1975, bringing it up to $1.2 million.
  • Give the power back to judges and jurors who will be able to decide if compensation above the cap is fair in cases of catastrophic injury or death.
  • Inform juries about the existence of the cap.
  • Require attorneys who file medical negligence lawsuits to file a certificate of merit, and make attorneys who file meritless lawsuits pay the doctors’ attorney’s fees.
  • Deter preventable medical injuries that add billions annually to our health care costs.
  • Reduce health care costs and burdens on our health care system by ensuring that wrongdoers pay for their mistakes, not victims and their families.

By providing more accountability for consumers and patients, the Fairness for Injured Patients Act makes the health care system safer for all of us.

California voters will have the chance to vote YES on their November 2022 ballot.

Read the Fairness Act initiative here.

Learn More at www.FairnessAct.com

Click the map to view stories by Senate District

A state law that hasn’t changed since 1975 caps compensation for families harmed by medical negligence. The limits apply to lost quality of life, even if a patient loses a leg, a child, or is disabled for life. Click on the picture of the map to find patients by the State Senate Districts they live in.

Paid for by Consumer Watchdog Campaign for the Fairness for Injured Patients Act
Committee Major Funding from:
Consumer Watchdog Campaign Nonprofit 501(c)(4)