What’s The Difference? Medical Malpractice Laws From State to State

medical malpractice laws by state

In a recent blog, we shared results from a study that ranked states individually by how they handle malpractice claims. Because we have a network of counsel attorneys throughout the U.S. for medical malpractice cases, we were interested in a recent article detailing why Wisconsin’s medical malpractice fund has a $783 million surplus.

Surplus Illustrates Differences Among States in Handling Medical Malpractice

Wisconsin’s Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund is a $1.2 billion account run by that state’s government to pay medical malpractice awards of $1 million or more. Doctors and hospitals contribute to the fund. The doctors are also responsible for maintaining their own medical malpractice insurance.

Legal experts in Wisconsin say that the surplus exists because of the restrictions established by the state on who can sue and caps on potential awarded damages. For example, if a child dies from a medical mistake in Wisconsin, the parent cannot sue. Likewise, an adult child cannot sue if their parents die as a result of medical errors. Prohibitions like these exist in few other states.

Other restrictions in Wisconsin include capped damages of $500,000 for the death of a child from medical malpractice; $350,000 for the death of an adult.

In the state rankings study we referenced in the earlier blog, Wisconsin ranked 46th with how they treat medical malpractice lawsuits.

Other States Handle Medical Malpractice Differently

The rules about medical malpractice requirements differ from state to state. For example, there are some states that do cap the amount of non-economic (monies awarded for things like pain and suffering) and economic (actual financial loss by the victim) damages.

States that have placed caps on possible awarded damages include California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Maryland Michigan, North Carolina and Texas.

States that absolutely forbidden the placement of caps on medical malpractice awards include New York, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Wyoming, Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and others.

Another difference in how medical malpractice law differs state-by-state is the established time limit for bringing forth a case. Here in New York, suits must be brought forth within 2 1/2 years from when the malpractice occurred. Other time limits in other states include:

  • Minnesota – four (4) years
  • California, Maine, Maryland, Vermont, Washington and South Carolina – three (3) years
  • Michigan, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida and Texas – two (2) years

Difference Highlight Importance of Legal Counsel in Medical Malpractice

In addition to specific laws varying from state-to-state, medical malpractice lawsuits are often tremendously complex. In addition to the matters we’ve discussed above, lawyers can provide invaluable help with obtaining expert medical witnesses and knowledge about all of the ins and outs of medical malpractice laws in your state.

The Fitzgerald Law Firm is Here Help You

Medical malpractice is one of our specialties. If you feel you’re a victim of medical malpractice, we want to talk with you about options for proper compensation. Contact the New York offices of The Fitzgerald Law Firm today for a free consultation at 800-323-9900.