New York's Cap for Medical Malpractice Damages

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What Are Medical Malpractice Damage Caps?

Many states have laws that limit the damages available to medical malpractice plaintiffs. Known as medical malpractice caps, these laws usually only limit "non-economic" damages. Non-economic damages are subjective, unquantifiable losses such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of companionship, and disfigurement. States usually do not limit "economic" damages, which are objective, quantifiable losses including medical bills, lost wages, and lost future earnings.

Does New York Cap Medical Malpractice Damages?

New York does not have any restrictions on how much a person can recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit. New York is one of only 15 states that do not have medical malpractice damage caps. Of the 35 states that have medical malpractice damage caps, Texas, California, and Colorado have some of the lowest limitations on non-economic damages, at $250,000. Many other states, such as Florida, limit non-economic damages to $500,000. 

Why Do Some States Cap Medical Malpractice Damages?

Caps on non-economic damages aim to lower physicians’ liability, leading to decreased malpractice insurance rates. However, consumer activists have criticized the caps for preventing injured children from collecting an amount equal to their lifelong pain and suffering. Also, recent trial decisions in other states have ruled that caps are unconstitutional. 

There are reports of doctors fleeing New York State and going to states with limits on non-economic damages, such as Texas, because of the lower premiums. Birth injury damages can be more than $10 million in New York because injuries leading to cerebral palsy cause a lifetime of pain and suffering.

Seeking Legal Help

If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent doctor in New York, you should consult an experienced New York medical malpractice lawyer to learn about your rights and remedies. Your attorney will be able to determine if you have a case, calculate the value of your case, and help you navigate the complicated legal process.

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Last Modified: 03-31-2014 08:47 PM PDT

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