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Medical Malpractice

San Francisco Medical Malpractice AttorneyS

More Than $1 Billion Won For Our Clients Across California

Have you been injured by the negligence of a medical professional? If so, you should not hesitate to get in touch with Bostwick & Peterson, LLP. We are some of the most recognized medical malpractice attorneys in the state for these challenging cases, and we are ready to help guide you through it.

Legal Update: New Law Increases California Medical Malpractice Damages Cap

For decades, California had been one of several states to impose controversial caps limiting the amount of compensation plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits can recover.

Namely, a state law that had been in place since 1975 placed a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages for the entire case no matter how many defendants. This cap includes damages for pain and suffering, physical and mental impairment, loss of quality of life, and other physical and emotional injuries. The cap is a major reason why results in California medical malpractice cases may appear to be lower than results in comparable cases in states without caps.

But thanks to AB 35, a bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in May 2022, California is finally updating its outdated damages cap policy for the first time in nearly 50 years. Under the new law:

  • Medical malpractice cases involving injuries will have a new limit of $350,000 starting January 1, 2023, an annual $40,000 increase over the next 10 years to $750,000, and a 2% annual adjustment for inflation after that.
  • Medical malpractice cases involving a patient death will have a new limit of $500,000 starting January 1, 2023, an annual $50,000 increase over the next 10 years to $1 million, and a 2% annual increase thereafter.
  • Under some circumstances, more than one cap amount may be allowed.

This is an important legal update and one that helps correct a policy that has been heavily criticized by advocates who say caps unfairly impact only certain plaintiffs (such as non-working women, seniors, and children) and those who suffer the most serious harms. Nevertheless, a limit still exists under the new law, which means that it remains critically important for victims in these actions to work with counsel capable of helping them pursue the maximum recovery possible.

  • Medical Malpractice, Birth Injury, Brain Injury, Sepsis, Medication Error Record-Setting Result $17,000,000

    Settlement for a brain-injured baby.

  • Medical Malpractice, Brain Injury, Neonatal Injury, Surgical Injury Record-Setting Result $14,000,000

    Surgery error on a 3-day old child resulted in brain injuries.

  • Medical Malpractice, Brain Injury, Birth Injury, Cerebral Palsy Record-Setting Result $11,400,000

    Birth injury resulted in Cerebral Palsy. This settlement is a state record.

  • Medical Malpractice, Neonatal Injury, Failure to Diagnose Record-Setting Result $11,000,000

    Neonatal blindness injuries to premature triplets after failure to diagnose the condition in a timely manner.

  • Medical Malpractice, Birth Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injury Record-Setting Result $10,000,000

    Record settlement for a birth injury case in that state.

  • Medical Malpractice, Cardiac Misdiagnosis, Failure to Diagnose, Wrongful Death Record-Setting Result $9,960,000

    This case against UCSF Medical Center was the largest medical malpractice settlement for a death in California history in 2002.

  • Medical Malpractice, Sepsis, Amputation Record-Setting Result $9,750,000

    Failure to treat sepsis and excessive medication led to the loss of limbs. This is a record-setting result in the state.

  • Medical Malpractice, Sepsis, Amputation Record-Setting Result $9,700,000

    Record settlement for amputation of multiple limbs.

  • Medical Malpractice, Sepsis, Amputation Record-Setting Result $9,250,000

    Failure to diagnose sepsis in the ER resulted in the loss of arms and legs. This was a record-setting result at the time.

  • Medical Malpractice, Birth Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injury Record-Setting Result $8,900,000

    Record trial judgment for improper use of vacuum extraction and failure to timely deliver a baby (1985).

  • Medical Malpractice, Stroke, Failure to Diagnose, Brain Injury $8,750,000

    A 30-year-old woman with a brain aneurysm suffered a stroke after the ER failed to order a CT scan.

  • Medical Malpractice, Failure to Diagnose, Amputation $8,750,000

    Failure to diagnose a devastating infection (Necrotizing Fasciitis) in a middle-aged woman.

  • Medical Malpractice, Sepsis, Emergency Room Error, Amputation $8,500,000

    Sepsis not treated promptly led to the loss of hands and legs.

  • Medical Malpractice, Neonatal/Birth Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injury Record-Setting Result $8,000,000

    Record settlement for a neonatal/birth injury in this Western state. The baby suffered severe spastic quadriparesis and relatively retained cognitive ability.

  • Medical Malpractice, Brain Injury, Stroke Injury $8,000,000

    A 58-year-old woman suffered a brain hemorrhage caused by a cerebral aneurysm.

  • Medical Malpractice, Brain Injury, Surgical Error, Stroke Injury Record-Setting Result $8,000,000

    Record settlement in 1985 for 16-year-old who went into a coma during knee surgery (Oklahoma).

  • Medical Malpractice, Brain Injury, Stroke Injury Record-Setting Result $7,860,000

    Record result for 65-year-old woman with cerebral aneurysm resulting in significant brain injuries.

  • Medical Malpractice, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury Record-Setting Result $7,600,000

    Largest jury verdict in the world in 1978.

  • Medical Malpractice, Surgical Error $7,500,000

    Failure to check blood type and kidney transplant rejected, resulting in life-time dialysis.

  • Medical Malpractice, Birth Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injury Record-Setting Result $7,100,000

    Birth injury record settlement in Mid-America.


Consider the following reasons why you need to call us now:

  • We have won more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements.
  • We have set several local, state, and national records with our case results.
  • Attorney Bostwick is certified as a specialist by the American Board of Professional Liability.
  • Attorney Bostwick has been listed in the “Best Lawyers in America”© since its inception in 1983.
  • Attorney Bostwick is one of the top 100 plaintiff lawyers in the country; he is an invited member of the Inner Circle of Advocates
  • Attorney Peterson has been listed in Super Lawyers® since 2006.
  • Attorney Peterson is listed in “Best Lawyers in America”©.
  • Attorney Peterson is a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America.
  • Attorney Peterson has AVVO’s highest peer rating of “Superb”.
  • Attorney Peterson has earned an AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell®.

Read James Bostwick’s article on Medical Malpractice: Preparation and Trial of Birth Injury Cases as published in Plaintiff magazine.

Our Proven Success in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases are complex; they require the skilled touch of an attorney who has the experience you need. At our firm, we do more than just talk the talk; we are proven courtroom warriors who advocate successfully on behalf of our clients. From birth injuries to the misdiagnosis of cancer, you can count on us to represent your best interests.

Just a few examples of our success throughout the years:

  • $17 Million – A record settlement over failure to treat a pregnant mother’s routine infection, which became septic and resulted in severe brain injury to her baby. This is believed to be the largest medical malpractice recovery, verdict or settlement, in California history (2019).
  • $14 Million – Surgical error at a California University hospital involving a 3-day-old baby who suffered brain injuries when an insufflation needle was placed in the umbilical vein, sending gas to the heart and brain. This was the largest medical malpractice settlement in California at the time (2018).
  • $11.4 Million – Providers failed to monitor fetus during important moments before birth, and failed to timely identify fetal distress, resulting in profound brain injury and cerebral palsy. At the time, this was the largest birth injury settlement in California (2010).
  • $11 Million – Premature triples suffered blindness, partial loss of vision, and mild loss of vision due to retinopathy of prematurity. We argued that the neonatologists and pediatrician should have been quicker to diagnose the issue and treat the condition before permanent damage was caused.
  • $9.96 Million – At the time of its conclusion, this was the largest medical malpractice settlement in the history of CA. A 38-year-old executive stopped at a UCSF clinic claiming he was suffering from chest tightness. He died 7 days later.
  • $8.9 Million - Record trial judgement involving improper use of vacuum extraction and failure to timely deliver a baby (1985).
  • $7.6 Million - An 18-year-old woman was rendered quadriplegic during radiation treatment for cancer she had suffered as a child. This case was the largest jury verdict in the world in 1978 and was featured on Walter Cronkite's 6 o'clock news.

To learn more about our victories throughout the years, browse our online case results.

Types of Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle

Medical malpractice refers to professional negligence by healthcare providers that results in substandard treatment, causing harm to the patient. This negligence can occur through actions, errors, or omissions in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, or health management. Common types of medical malpractice cases include:

We can handle cases where negligence was tied to a physician, surgeon, dentist, nurse, psychiatrists, pharmacist, or more. These professionals are all held to a high standard of conduct to protect their patients; should they ever fail to uphold that standard, they may be held liable for their actions.

Our firm can handle a wide variety of medical malpractice cases, such as:

  • Birth and Neonatal Injuries: These cases involve injuries to infants during childbirth, such as cerebral palsy, brain damage, or other complications that may result from medical errors.
  • Pediatric Meningitis: Failure to diagnose or treat pediatric meningitis can lead to serious consequences. Timely intervention is crucial in managing this potentially life-threatening condition.
  • Misdiagnosis: When a healthcare professional fails to accurately diagnose a medical condition or provides an incorrect diagnosis, it can result in delayed or inappropriate treatment.
  • Failure to Diagnose: Similar to misdiagnosis, this involves situations where a healthcare provider neglects to identify a medical condition altogether, leading to delayed or absent treatment.
  • Radiation Injuries: Improper use of radiation therapy can cause harm to patients, including burns, tissue damage, or other adverse effects.
  • Anesthesia Errors: Mistakes related to administering anesthesia, such as dosage errors, can lead to serious complications, including respiratory issues or anesthesia awareness.
  • Surgical Errors: These cases involve mistakes made during surgical procedures, such as wrong-site surgery, organ damage, or leaving surgical instruments inside the patient.
  • Emergency Room Errors: Errors in the emergency room can have severe consequences, including misdiagnosis, delays in treatment, or failure to provide timely care in critical situations.
  • Suicide from Dangerous Drugs: In cases where patients experience adverse psychological effects or worsening mental health due to prescribed medications, it may lead to severe consequences, including suicide.
  • Medication Errors: Mistakes in prescribing, dispensing, or administering medications can result in serious consequences, including adverse reactions, overdoses, or other complications.
  • Infections from Healthcare Facilities: Failure to maintain proper hygiene standards in healthcare settings can result in patients acquiring infections during their hospital stay.
  • Delayed Treatment: Delays in providing necessary medical care can worsen a patient's condition and lead to complications that could have been prevented with timely intervention.
  • Failure to Obtain Informed Consent: Patients have the right to be informed about the potential risks and benefits of a medical procedure or treatment. Failure to obtain informed consent may result in legal action.
  • Hospital Negligence: Cases where the hospital itself is liable for negligence, such as inadequate staffing, faulty equipment, or failure to maintain a safe environment for patients.
  • Diagnostic Testing Errors: Mistakes in conducting or interpreting diagnostic tests, leading to incorrect diagnoses or delays in treatment.
  • Failure to Monitor: Inadequate monitoring of a patient's condition, especially during and after surgical procedures, can lead to complications that could have been prevented with proper supervision.
  • Wrongful Death: When medical negligence results in the death of a patient, the surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim against the responsible healthcare provider.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Medical Malpractice?

In cases of medical malpractice, liability can extend to various parties involved in the provision of healthcare. The key individuals or entities that can be held liable for medical malpractice include:

  • Healthcare Professionals: This includes doctors, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, radiologists, and other individual healthcare providers directly involved in a patient's care. If these professionals fail to meet the standard of care, they may be held liable for medical malpractice.
  • Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities: Hospitals and other healthcare institutions can be held responsible for the actions of their employees, including doctors, nurses, and support staff. This is often the case when negligence occurs within the scope of employment.
  • Nursing Homes and Care Facilities: In cases involving the elderly or individuals in long-term care facilities, the facility itself and its staff may be held liable for negligence, abuse, or inadequate care.
  • Pharmaceutical Companies: If a patient experiences harm due to a defective drug, inadequate warnings, or improper labeling, the pharmaceutical company responsible for manufacturing and distributing the drug may be held liable.
  • Pharmacists: Pharmacists can be held liable for medication errors, including dispensing the wrong medication, incorrect dosage, or failing to provide proper instructions on medication use.
  • Dentists and Dental Professionals: Dental professionals may be held accountable for malpractice, including errors in dental procedures, failure to diagnose oral conditions, or negligence in providing dental care.
  • Psychiatrists and Mental Health Professionals: Mental health professionals may be held liable for malpractice if their actions or omissions result in harm to a patient, such as misdiagnosis, improper treatment, or failure to prevent harm.
  • Diagnostic Laboratories: Laboratories conducting diagnostic tests can be held liable for errors in testing, misinterpretation of results, or failure to communicate accurate information to healthcare providers.

The Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims in California

If you are considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in California it's important to note that, no matter the type of injury suffered, you have a limited amount of time to file your claim. California law allows the injured person to file a lawsuit within one year from the date the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered, or within three years from the date the injury took place, whichever comes first.

The only exception to this rule is in cases where a foreign object, like a sponge or surgical instrument, was left inside the patient's body. The one-year discover rule still applies, however, there is no general time limit preventing the victim from, for example, filing a lawsuit ten years after the surgery if the foreign object wasn't discovered until recently.

Since medical malpractice lawsuits have such a short statute of limitations it's essential that you contact our law firm as soon as you suspect medical negligence. Our team of experienced, hard-working attorneys can investigate the details of your claim to see if you are a victim of medical malpractice.

Determining If You Have Grounds to File a Lawsuit

A few general factors provide the framework for determining whether you have received negligent medical care, and if it may be possible to recover in a malpractice lawsuit. Importantly, you must establish that the health care worker, whether a doctor, nurse or other care provider owes you a “duty of care.”

A friend’s advice not to seek treatment, or to pursue a particular remedy for your ailment – even if they are in the medical field – is generally not sufficient.

On the other hand, this relationship doesn’t depend on obtaining medical care in a physical office; for example, a drive-through and other temporary health clinic where medical advice and treatment is delivered may be sufficient to establish a doctor-patient relationship requiring a heightened standard of care.

A successful medical malpractice action will show that a the health care provider owed the patient a standard of care (based on the specific health care professional’s job – whether a nurse, doctor, anesthesiologist, etc.), and that the health care provider breached (failed to meet) that standard of care.

The breach is a failure to do what is expected of that position. Importantly, this breach must cause harm. If the health care worker makes a mistake, or otherwise acts negligently, and you are not hurt as a result, then it is unlikely you will have a strong case. However, if you suffer significant harm due to a medical error, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney at once.

Contact us online or call today to learn how we can help you: (888) 831-8448.

Contact Us to Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you believe you have suffered harm as a result of medical negligence, including when a medical professional has failed to diagnose or treat a condition, and your health has worsened as a result, you should call a lawyer immediately.

Not every situation with a poor outcome meets the criteria for a malpractice claim; however, time is of the essence, so it is important to have an attorney review your situation and determine your next steps as soon as possible.

If you would like to take the first step in your case, we encourage you to contact Bostwick & Peterson today. Our San Francisco medical malpractice lawyers are fully committed to helping our clients navigate through complex times and will do everything we can to see that our clients are properly compensated.



What Sets Bostwick & Peterson, LLP Apart? 

  • More than $1 billion recovered for our clients
  • Since January 2018, the firm has twice broken the California record for the largest medical malpractice settlement
  • James Bostwick was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers® in 2012
  • James Bostwick is a Nationally Certified Specialist by the American Board of Professional Liability
  • Included in the list of "Best Lawyers in America" by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® since its inception in 1983
  • James Bostwick received the Trial Lawyers "Presidential Award of Merit"
  • James Bostwick is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, limited to the nation’s top 100 plaintiff lawyers
  • Record-setting verdicts and settlements in five states for medical malpractice and motor vehicle accidents

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