Another state has ruled that caps on medical malpractice non-economic damages are unconstitutional. The ruling was made by a Wisconsin appeals court in early July. While the ruling will surely be reviewed by Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, the appellate court ruling is reflective of what could be a nationwide trend.
In this issue, we’ll talk more about what’s going on.
What does the Wisconsin ruling mean?
A woman who won a medical malpractice case after having all four of her limbs amputated was awarded $25.3 million in damages — $15 million of which was for non-economic damages.
However, the non-economic damages portion was later reduced to $750,000 – the maximum amount (cap) allowed under Wisconsin law
The woman’s legal team countered that the cap was unconstitutional, and a county judge agreed with them. In fact, the court went a bit further and said that the cap does not achieve any of the stated goals for adopted the cap in the first place.
Why was the cap put in place?
When Wisconsin lawmakers originally put the cap into effect, they said that it was designed to “encourage doctors to practice in Wisconsin and contain health care costs by discouraging ‘defensive medicine.'”
There is no data, however, that the cap has had any effect on the doctor population in Wisconsin, which has grown every year.
What are non-economic damages in a medical malpractice suit?
Essentially, non-economic damages are purely subjective, and can include things like pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation, a worsening of existing conditions, etc.
Are other states getting rid of caps on medical malpractice cases?
At least one other state has. In June, the Florida Supreme Court also ruled that caps on non-economic damages are unconstitutional.
Which states have caps for medical malpractice lawsuits?
There are 35 states that currently have caps for medical malpractice damages. Most have varying ranges on caps for economic and non-economic damages.
The 15 states that do not have medical malpractice caps are:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Rhode Island
If you’ve experienced malpractice, call The Fitzgerald Law Firm!
Each year, thousands of people fall victim to medical malpractice, which can easily lead to serious life changes or even wrongful death.
If you’re a victim of medical malpractice, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced medical malpractice law attorney.
For a free consultation, call The Fitzgerald Law Firm; our number is 800-323-9900.