In some states, there are limits on damage awards for medical malpractice. The amount of compensation you can recover as a victim varies based on where you live.
How Many States Have Caps on Medical Malpractice Damages?
More than half of states limit the amount of money you can receive if you have experienced medical malpractice. Some even limit how much compensation you can get for your total damages, including long-term care. Most states with damage limits only cap things like pain and suffering, which are in the category of non-economic damages.
In addition to pain and suffering, non-economic damages can include things like disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life. Economic damages are things you can more easily measure in dollars, like medical expenses and lost wages.
What Can a Jury Do If It Wants to Award More Than the Maximum Allowed?
Even if the judge instructed the jury about the limit on damages in your state, sometimes juries will award more than the cap. In these situations, the judge usually reduces the amount of the compensation to the maximum allowed.
Some juries will award punitive damages if the state allows them to do so. However, not all states permit punitive damages in medical malpractice cases.
What Limits Do Different States Have on Medical Malpractice Damages?
The legal limits in place vary from state to state. Your local laws may differ, but here are a few examples of the caps in some states.
California medical malpractice laws do not limit the amount of economic damages you can get in a successful medical malpractice case. However, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) caps non-economic awards at $250,000. Though this law passed in 1975, lawmakers have not adjusted this damage amount upward, even though the cost of living is significantly higher today than it was over 40 years ago.
Florida medical malpractice statutes cap damages at $500,000, $750,000, or $1,000,000, depending on the level of harm and whether the person who harmed you was a “medical practitioner” or not. However, the Florida Supreme Court found these caps unconstitutional in 2017. Florida has no limit on the amount of non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.
Victims of medical malpractice in New York do not have to deal with damage caps. New York does not limit the amount of compensation—economic or non-economic—you can receive in a medical malpractice case.
Texas medical malpractice statutes do not limit the amount of economic damages the jury can award you for things like lost wages, loss of earning potential, medical expenses, future medical treatments, and care. When it comes to non-economic damages, however, Texas does limit victims to:
- $250,000 per claimant from a doctor or other health care provider;
- $250,000 per claimant from a health care institution; and
- A total of $500,000 from all health care institutions, regardless of the number of facilities that were negligent.
How Can I Get Help With My Claim?
At Newsome | Melton, we help severely injured people who are the victims of medical malpractice. We will evaluate your claim without any cost or obligation to you. If you decide to work with us, we will calculate a fair value for your compensation and determine how your state’s laws will impact your potential damage award.
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