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San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

MICRA Liability Protections to be Modernized Via Legislation; 2022 Ballot Proposition Withdrawn

The California Medical Association (CMA) today announced that legislation has been introduced (AB 35) to modernize the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). As a result, a proposition scheduled for the fall 2022 ballot, which would have eviscerated MICRA protections for physicians, will be withdrawn.

Several key MICRA protections are maintained in the legislation, and new protections are added, including that expressions of sympathy, regret, or benevolence are now inadmissible in malpractice cases.

The legislation increases the cap on non-economic damages for cases not involving death from $250,000 to $350,000 on January 1st, 2023, and then increases the cap in fixed increments over a ten-year period until it reaches $750,000. The ballot proposition would have increased the cap on non-economic damages from $250,000 to $1.3 million overnight. The cap on non-economic damages for cases involving death will increase to $500,000 on January 1st, and increase in fixed increments until it reaches $1 million. Thereafter, the cap will increase at two percent every year to account for inflation. The cap has remained unchanged since MICRA's introduction, in 1975.

Liability insurance premiums are expected to increase by 18 percent in 2023, and by 38 percent in ten years, as compared to a nearly 90 percent increase immediately had the ballot proposition passed.

Additional details about the legislation are contained in the materials below:

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