*The unique practitioner categories of Physicians and Doctors of Osteopathic accounted for the majority of the Total Payment Amount at $6,957.73M.
California Medical Malpractice by the Numbers
Even looking at the most current NPDB data for California physicians (MDs and DOs) alone, the numbers paint a clear picture of California as a highly litigious state with a higher risk of being sued for medical malpractice.
Why The Higher Volume of California Medical Malpractice Cases?
Several factors may influence allegations of medical malpractice in California. The state has a high concentration of physicians and surgeons to meet the demand for high-risk specialties – including plastic surgery, bariatric surgery, and OB/GYN. The potentially severe intraoperative patient injuries and post-operative complications in these specialty procedures are among the most often cited in medical malpractice allegations.
Also, a patient may now receive a higher jury award if their medical malpractice lawsuit goes to trial. California passed legislation in 2023 to modify California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) by increasing the caps on non-economic damages that juries can award to plaintiffs:
$350,000 for non-economic damages in non-death cases. Incremental increases over the next 10 years will raise the cap to $750,000, followed by a 2% annual adjustment for inflation in subsequent years.
$500,000 for wrongful death cases. This cap will rise incrementally to $1 million over the next 10 years. The subsequent 2% annual adjustment for inflation will also apply.
In California there is still no limit on the amount of compensation a plaintiff can recover for economic damages.
High-Payout California Medical Malpractice Cases
Facing a medical malpractice lawsuit in California without robust malpractice insurance could be financially devastating to your practice. The following are just a few examples of California medical malpractice cases that either went to trial or were settled out of court over the past three years: