When Governor Gavin Newsom signed California Assembly Bill 35 (AB 35) into law on May 23, 2022, it opened the door for a likely tremendous surge of medical malpractice litigation—with increasing frequency and cost—after it goes into effect on January 1, 2023.
AB 35 significantly diminishes the important protections provided by MICRA—the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975. MICRA reigned in out-of-control insurance rates by capping noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits at $250,000 per plaintiff. This has since ensured patient access to healthcare by helping to keep doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers in practice, and hospitals and clinics open.
AB 35 will pose significant challenges to the medical community as potentially higher healthcare costs will fuel a possible reduction in access to services without any improvement in the quality of care.