Medical Malpractice Caps Limit Compensation for Victims

Medical malpractice damages caps limit the amount of money a plaintiff can receive from a medical malpractice claim. Often, the damages caps limit only non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental distress, and loss of companionship. Yet, some states cap both non-economic and economic damages, which include medical bills and lost wages. Medical malpractice caps vary greatly by state and can have an enormous impact on the amount of money an individual plaintiff can receive.

doctor-563428_960_720The reasoning behind malpractice compensation caps is to limit the financial burden on the state and to minimize drains on the economy. In addition, some say that caps promote cost stability in the health care system and protect doctors from high insurance rates, helping to ensure that doctors are willing to practice in the state. However, those opposed to medical malpractice caps argue that legislatures should not be able to limit what courts determine that plaintiffs deserve.

Indiana Votes to Increase Medical Malpractice Cap

According to one news source, the Indiana legislature recently approved an increase to the state’s cap on medical malpractice damages for the first time in almost two decades. The state’s cap is currently limited to $1.25 million. The new law would raise the cap to $1.65 million in 2017 and to $1.8 million in 2019. Indiana’s current and proposed law encompasses both economic and non-economic damages.

Legislators in Indiana were worried that the state’s current cap would be found unconstitutionally low and unfair to plaintiffs. The state’s medical association, which represents physicians, opposed the increase. However, some reasoned that the legislature has to keep up with the rising cost of health care in order to remain constitutional. Eventually, the groups came to a compromise, agreeing to two phases of increases. The law still needs to be approved by the state’s governor.

No Damages Cap in Illinois

In Illinois, there is no cap on medical malpractice damages. In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court declared the state’s previous cap on non-economic damages unconstitutional. Accordingly, any medical malpractice claim filed after the decision is not subject to a cap, and the maximum compensation is unlimited. The court reasoned that judges and juries should be able to decide how much a plaintiff is owed based on their individual case. This means that Illinois plaintiffs are able to receive as much compensation as a judge or jury awards them, without having to worry about their award being reduced.

Do You Want to Seek Compensation for a Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you have suffered harm due to the conduct of a medical practitioner, you may be able to prove that medical malpractice was committed. The Illinois lawyers at Moll Law Group are available to advise individuals who have suffered from medical malpractice. If you are able to successfully prove medical malpractice in Illinois, you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages—without worrying that your award will be reduced. These damages can include medical bills, lost income, mental anguish, out-of-pocket costs, scarring and disfigurement, and pain and suffering. Our skilled attorneys know what is required in order to prove a medical malpractice claim and how to show your past, present, and future damages. To arrange for a free initial consultation, call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us through our online form.

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Court Considers Causation Issues in Defective Gun Case, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, March 8, 2016.