Medical malpractice is legal action taken against a medical professional who fails to live up to an established standard of care, either through negligent behavior or omission, and causes harm or death to their patient. It can be a serious blemish on a medical professional’s record. If you feel like your doctor’s actions resulted in a serious injury, you may want to pursue a medical malpractice case. If so, it can be helpful to know the average medical malpractice settlement in California.

What Is the Average Medical Malpractice Settlement in California?

There is no official medical malpractice settlement average in California or anywhere else in the United States, for that matter. Every medical malpractice case is different, bringing with it different circumstances that define it. Certain factors are taken into consideration with each case, such as the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries, the facts surrounding the alleged malpractice, and the doctor in question’s record.

Medical malpractice settlements can range anywhere from several hundred thousand dollars to well over a million dollars. They can also be considerably less than that. It all depends on the facts of your case. There is a fair chance you may get nothing. Some medical malpractice cases are dismissed without a settlement at all. If you feel that you have a valid medical malpractice case, you should consult with a medical malpractice lawyer.

Average Medical Malpractice Settlement in California

Standard of Care

The primary focus of most medical malpractice cases is establishing a standard of care between a medical professional and a patient. It is critical to identify what the medical professional was treating and how they were treating it. If the medical professional in question fails to adhere to the standard of care that was established by the medical community or deviates from it without cause, it is considered malpractice.

There is a distinct difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence, and that difference can mean a lot in a court of law. Medical negligence refers to a medical professional’s lack of providing reasonable care to a patient. Medical malpractice occurs when that negligence contributes to the harm or death of a patient. An experienced malpractice attorney can help you understand the nuances between those two terms when it comes time to build your case.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

When we go to the hospital or a doctor’s office of any kind, we expect to be provided with, at the very least, adequate medical treatment. We don’t expect it to turn into a nightmare scenario that results in legal action taken against a trusted medical professional. You may not even be completely sure that what you experienced was malpractice or not. Here are some examples of malpractice scenarios that often occur:

  • Improper Medication: If you were given the incorrect medication by a medical professional, that could be grounds for a malpractice case. Improper medication could kill you, depending on what you were given and how much you took. Medical professionals are supposed to know better.
  • Surgical Injuries: When we are told that we need surgery, we rarely question it because we assume that the medical professional knows what must be done to help us. Accidents can happen in surgery, and they can be horrific. If you have suffered a surgical injury, you may have grounds for a malpractice case.
  • Birthing Injuries: Giving birth can be a difficult procedure. A seasoned medical professional should know how the process works and be able to provide you with adequate care during it. However, if they make a mistake that results in serious injury to either the mother or the baby, you may have grounds for a malpractice case.


Q: How Much Are Most Medical Malpractice Settlements?

A: On a national scale, many medical malpractice settlements tend to be in the hundreds of thousands, while the average jury verdict that favors the plaintiff tends to be an award of over $1 million. That is not a guarantee that your medical malpractice claim will result in a similar payout. You could receive much less, or you could receive more. It all depends on the details of your specific case.

Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in California?

A: The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim in California is three years from the date of the initial injury or within one year of the time that the plaintiff discovers the injury. Typically, it’s whichever comes first. In other words, once you have discovered that a medical professional’s negligence injured you, you need to file a medical malpractice claim as soon as you can. The only exception is if you find a foreign object that was left inside of you after surgery.

Q: What Is the Maximum Malpractice Award in California?

A: As of 2023, the maximum malpractice award in California for non-economic damages is $350,000 for cases that did not result in a wrongful death. The same law also increases the possible amount that can be recovered by $40,000 annually until it caps out at $750,000. The maximum award possible in a case that did result in a wrongful death is $500,000.

However, there is no limit on economic damages. Typically, it is the hospital or the insurance company that pays out if the decision is in the plaintiff’s favor.

Q: What Are the Odds of Winning a Medical Malpractice Claim?

A: Typically, your odds of winning a medical malpractice claim are not great. According to a study from the National Library of Medicine, the defendant tends to win 80% to 90% of jury trials that have weak evidence of medical negligence, 70% of jury trials in borderline cases, and 50% of cases with strong evidence of medical negligence. It is incredibly difficult to win a medical malpractice case, as they deal with complex legal issues and medical terminology that may be tough to understand.

Reach Out to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

At Easton & Easton, we are determined to help you find justice and prove that medical malpractice was the cause of your injury. We can help you develop your case, gather enough evidence to back up your claim and work to get you an appropriate settlement. Contact us to schedule a consultation as soon as you feel that you may have been a victim of medical malpractice.