Financial recoveries for medical malpractice cases are usually intended to compensate victims for the losses, injuries, harm and damage they suffered as a result of medical negligence. In general, these recoveries can include awards for:
- Non-economic damages – Also referred to as “general damages,” non-economic damages refer to losses that are difficult (if not impossible) to quantify in dollars. Examples of this type of compensation include awards for pain and suffering, anxiety, and impacts to victims’ quality of life.
- Economic damages – These awards are related to losses that can be assigned a monetary value. Some examples include awards for losses like medical bills, future treatment costs, and lost wages.
More than half all U.S. states have passed laws that impose limits – or caps – on the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. While some states have fixed caps for non-economic damages, others have fluctuating caps, based on the nature of the injuries sustained. A handful of other states have set caps that cover both economic and non-economic damages.
State Caps for Medical Malpractice Compensation
The following table highlights the different medical malpractice caps that have been imposed in various states throughout the U.S. Please note that states that do not currently have legal caps on damages for medical malpractice cases have been omitted from this table.
|State||Medical Malpractice Damage Cap|
(or $400,000 for certain permanent or fatal injuries)
(with a $1 million total cap)1
(or $700,000 if more than one medical facility was involved)
(or $1 million for cases against healthcare facilities)
|Indiana||$1.25 million in total damages
(economic & non-economic)
|Louisiana||$500,000 in total damages3|
|Maine||$500,000 in total damages|
(or $774,000 for certain permanent injuries)
(or $700,000 for certain permanent or fatal injuries)
|Nebraska||$2.25 million in total damages|
|New Mexico||$600,000 in total damages3|
|North Carolina||$500,0006, 7|
(or $1.05 million when multiple defendants are involved)
(or $1 million for certain permanent or fatal injuries)
|Virginia||$2.25 million9 in total damages|
(or $500,000 for certain permanent or fatal injuries)
1For non-economic & economic damages
2Subject to adjustment, based on the state-calculated “annual living wage”
3Not including the costs of future medical expenses
4This is for 2016. Maryland law provides that this cap increases annually by $15,000 (so it would be $785,000 in 2017, barring any changes to the state statute).
5This cap is for punitive damages for any injury case in the state.
6This is adjusted annually for inflation.
7This cap does not apply when disfiguring or permanent injuries have resulted from malicious or reckless acts.
8This cap only applies in wrongful death cases.
9This cap increases annually and is set to stop increasing in 2031 (at a limit of $3 million).
Medical Malpractice Awards: More Important Information
- Understanding the compensation limits in your state – The above table simplifies the limits that different states’ laws have placed on medical malpractice awards. To better understand that specific caps that may (or may not) apply to your case, it’s best to consult a medical malpractice attorney.
- Punitive damages – In rare cases, medical malpractice victims may be eligible to request (and possibly receive) punitive damages. In contrast to compensatory damages (which are intended to compensate victims for their losses), punitive damages are meant to punish a negligent party and deter that party from acting in a similar, harmful manner in the future.
Find Out More about Your Recovery Options
Contact an attorney at Buckingham Barrera Law Firm via our contact form to find out whether you have a malpractice case and, if so, how much your case may be worth.
Our attorneys are ready to provide you with clear-cut answers about your rights and recovery options, and they can fight to help you secure the full amount of compensation you deserve if you have been harmed by any form of medical negligence.
Although we cannot change or erase the past, we are here for you now – and our representation can make a big difference in your case, recovery and future.
From offices based in Albuquerque, our skilled lawyers provide superior service and representation to injured people throughout Albuquerque County, the state of New Mexico, the state of Texas, and the U.S.