State Limits on Medical Malpractice Awards

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What Are State Limits on Medical Malpractice Awards?

Medical malpractice claims can be very expensive to pursue.  At the same time, many states limit the amount of non-economic damages that a victim can recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit.  It is important to consider these limitations before pursuing a costly medical malpractice case. 

What's the Difference Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages?

Economic damages in a medical malpractice case refer to actual monetary losses suffered by the victim including medical bills, lost wages and loss of future earnings.  Non-economic damages are monies awarded to a victim for unquantifiable losses such as pain and suffering.

Are There Any Federal Caps On Medical Malpractice Awards?

Yes. Although the United States Supreme Court has not ruled on medical malpractice specifically, it has ruled on tort reform, which medical malpractice is a part of. In the case State Farm v. Campbell (2003), the high Court ruled that punitive damages cannot exceed damages awarded to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries by a nine to one ratio. For example, if the plaintiff was awarded $1000 for his or her injuries, the defendant cannot be forced to give more than $9000 for punitive damages.

What are the State Limits on Non-Economic Damages?

Many states limit non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.  For example:

Which States Forbid the Use of Caps On Medical Malpractice Awards?

The following states have no state statutory limits on awards for medical malpractice, either because the state constitution forbids it or because the state courts have struck such limits down as unconstitutional. 

Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Pursuing a medical malpractice claim can be very difficult.  An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights, privileges and your state's limits of recovery.  A medical malpractice attorney can also represent you in court and file any necessary paperwork.

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Last Modified: 03-19-2014 11:12 AM PDT

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