Medical Liability/Medical Malpractice Laws

Heather Morton 7/13/2021

Courtroom

Under state law, a patient may pursue a civil claim against physicians or other health care providers, called medical liability or medical malpractice, if the health care provider causes injury or death to the patient through a negligent act or omission. To recover damages, the patient must establish:

  1. The physician owed a duty to the patient.
  2. The standard of care and that the physician violated that standard.
  3. A compensable injury.
  4. The violation of the standard of care caused the harm suffered by the patient.

In civil cases, including medical liability/malpractice cases, damages may be awarded and those damages may include economic, noneconomic or punitive damages. Thirty-three states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enacted limitations or caps on the amount of money a plaintiff may receive in a medical liability verdict on at least one type of damages. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia do not have a damage award limit or cap. Connecticut and Minnesota allow for a court to review of the damage awarded, but does not specify a specific limit or cap.

The box allows you to conduct a full text search or type the state name.

State Medical Liability Statutes—Damage Limits or Caps
State: Summary of Damage Provisions:

Alabama

No limitations.

Ala. Code §6-5-544

(a) In any action for injury whether in contract or in tort against a health care provider based on a breach of the standard of care, the injured plaintiff and spouse upon proper proof may be entitled to recover noneconomic losses to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and other nonpecuniary damage.

(b) Limits on noneconomic damages (Ala. Code §6-5-544) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Moore v. Mobile Infirmary Medical Center, 592 So.2d 156 (Ala. 1991)).

 

Limits on wrongful death damages (Ala. Code §6-5-547) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Smith v. Schulte, 671 So.2d 1334 (Ala. 1995)).

Alaska

Alaska Stat. §09.55.549

Noneconomic damages limited to $250,000; limited to $400,000 for wrongful death or injury over 70% disabling; limits not applicable to intentional or reckless acts or omissions.

 

Alaska Stat. §09.17.020

Punitive damages limited to the greater of three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000. Except as provided, if the conduct was motivated by financial gain and the adverse consequences of the conduct were actually known by the defendant or the person responsible for making policy decisions on behalf of the defendant, it may award an amount of punitive damages not to exceed the greatest of (1) four times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff in the action; (2) four times the aggregate amount of financial gain that the defendant received as a result of the defendant's misconduct; or (3) the sum of $7 million.

Arizona

No limitations.

Ariz. Const. Art. 2, §31

No law shall be enacted in this state limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the death or injury of any person, except that a crime victim is not subject to a claim for damages by a person who is harmed while the person is attempting to engage in, engaging in or fleeing after having engaged in or attempted to engage in conduct that is classified as a felony offense.

 

Ariz. Const. Art. 18, §6

The right of action to recover damages for injuries shall never be abrogated, and the amount recovered shall not be subject to any statutory limitation, except that a crime victim is not subject to a claim for damages by a person who is harmed while the person is attempting to engage in, engaging in or fleeing after having engaged in or attempted to engage in conduct that is classified as a felony offense.

Arkansas

No limitations.

Ark. Const. Art. 5, §32

The General Assembly shall have power to enact laws prescribing the amount of compensation to be paid by employers for injuries to or death of employees, and to whom said payment shall be made. It shall have power to provide the means, methods, and forum for adjudicating claims arising under said laws, and for securing payment of same. Provided, that otherwise no law shall be enacted limiting the amount to be recovered for injuries resulting in death or for injuries to persons or property; and in case of death from such injuries the right of action shall survive, and the General Assembly shall prescribe for whose benefit such action shall be prosecuted.

 

Limits on punitive damages (Ark. Stat. Ann. §16-55-208) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Bayer Cropscience LP v. Schafer, 385 S.W.3d 822 (Ark. 2011)).

California

Cal. Civil Code §3333.2

$250,000 limit for noneconomic damages

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. §13-64-302

The total amount recoverable for all damages for a course of care for all defendants in any civil action for damages in tort brought against a health care professional, as defined in §13-64-202, or a health care institution, as defined in §13-64-202, or as a result of binding arbitration, whether past damages, future damages, or a combination of both, shall not exceed $1 million, present value per patient, including any claim for derivative noneconomic loss or injury, of which not more than $300,000, present value per patient, including any derivative claim, shall be attributable to direct or derivative noneconomic loss or injury; except that, if, upon good cause shown, the court determines that the present value of past and future economic damages would exceed such limitation and that the application of such limitation would be unfair, the court may award in excess of the limitation the present value of additional past and future economic damages only. The limitations of this section are not applicable to a health care professional who is a public employee under the “Colorado Governmental Immunity Act” and are not applicable to a certified health care institution which is a public entity under the “Colorado Governmental Immunity Act”. For purposes of this section, “present value” has the same meaning as that set forth in §13-64-202(7).

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. §52-228c

If the jury renders a verdict specifying noneconomic damages in an amount exceeding $1 million, the court shall review the evidence presented to the jury to determine if the amount of noneconomic damages specified in the verdict is excessive as a matter of law in that it so shocks the sense of justice as to compel the conclusion that the jury was influenced by partiality, prejudice, mistake or corruption. If the court so concludes, it shall order a remittitur and, upon failure of the party so ordered to remit the amount ordered by the court, it shall set aside the verdict and order a new trial.

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 18, §6855

Punitive damages may be awarded only on finding of malicious intent to injure or willful or wanton misconduct. No specified limit.

District of Columbia

No applicable statute.

Florida

Fla. Stat. §766.118

No limitations in medical malpractice wrongful death or personal injury medical malpractice cases. Limits on noneconomic damages in wrongful death cases (Fla. Stat. §766.118(2)) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Estate of McCall v. U.S., 134 So.3d 894 (Fla. 2014)). Limits on noneconomic damage awards in personal injury medical malpractice actions (§766.118(2) and (3)) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see North Broward Hospital v. Kalitan, 219 So.3d 49 (Fla. 2017)).

(4) Limitation on noneconomic damages for negligence of practitioners providing emergency services and care.--Notwithstanding subsections (2) and (3), with respect to a cause of action for personal injury or wrongful death arising from medical negligence of practitioners providing emergency services and care, as defined in §395.002(9), or providing services as provided in §401.265, or providing services pursuant to obligations imposed by 42 U.S.C. §1395dd to persons with whom the practitioner does not have a then-existing health care patient-practitioner relationship for that medical condition: (a) Regardless of the number of such practitioner defendants, noneconomic damages shall not exceed $150,000 per claimant. (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the total noneconomic damages recoverable by all claimants from all such practitioners shall not exceed $300,000. The limitation provided by this subsection applies only to noneconomic damages awarded as a result of any act or omission of providing medical care or treatment, including diagnosis that occurs prior to the time the patient is stabilized and is capable of receiving medical treatment as a nonemergency patient, unless surgery is required as a result of the emergency within a reasonable time after the patient is stabilized, in which case the limitation provided by this subsection applies to any act or omission of providing medical care or treatment which occurs prior to the stabilization of the patient following the surgery.

(5) Limitation on noneconomic damages for negligence of nonpractitioner defendants providing emergency services and care.--Notwithstanding subsections (2) and (3), with respect to a cause of action for personal injury or wrongful death arising from medical negligence of defendants other than practitioners providing emergency services and care pursuant to obligations imposed by §395.1041 or §401.45, or obligations imposed by 42 U.S.C. §1395dd to persons with whom the practitioner does not have a then-existing health care patient-practitioner relationship for that medical condition: (a) Regardless of the number of such nonpractitioner defendants, noneconomic damages shall not exceed $750,000 per claimant. (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the total noneconomic damages recoverable by all claimants from all such nonpractitioner defendants shall not exceed $1.5 million. (c) Nonpractitioner defendants may receive a full setoff for payments made by practitioner defendants. The limitation provided by this subsection applies only to noneconomic damages awarded as a result of any act or omission of providing medical care or treatment, including diagnosis that occurs prior to the time the patient is stabilized and is capable of receiving medical treatment as a nonemergency patient, unless surgery is required as a result of the emergency within a reasonable time after the patient is stabilized, in which case the limitation provided by this subsection applies to any act or omission of providing medical care or treatment which occurs prior to the stabilization of the patient following the surgery.

(6) Limitation on noneconomic damages for negligence of a practitioner providing services and care to a Medicaid recipient.--Notwithstanding subsections (2), (3), and (5), with respect to a cause of action for personal injury or wrongful death arising from medical negligence of a practitioner committed in the course of providing medical services and medical care to a Medicaid recipient, regardless of the number of such practitioner defendants providing the services and care, noneconomic damages may not exceed $300,000 per claimant, unless the claimant pleads and proves, by clear and convincing evidence, that the practitioner acted in a wrongful manner. A practitioner providing medical services and medical care to a Medicaid recipient is not liable for more than $200,000 in noneconomic damages, regardless of the number of claimants, unless the claimant pleads and proves, by clear and convincing evidence, that the practitioner acted in a wrongful manner. The fact that a claimant proves that a practitioner acted in a wrongful manner does not preclude the application of the limitation on noneconomic damages prescribed elsewhere in this section. For purposes of this subsection: (a) The terms “medical services,” “medical care,” and “Medicaid recipient” have the same meaning as provided in §409.901. (b) The term “practitioner,” in addition to the meaning prescribed in subsection (1), includes any hospital or ambulatory surgical center as defined and licensed under chapter 395. (c) The term “wrongful manner” means in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property, and shall be construed in conformity with the standard set forth in §768.28(9)(a).

 

Fla. Stat. §768.73

Punitive damages limited to the greater of three times amount of compensatory damages or $500,000. Where the wrongful conduct was motivated solely by unreasonable financial gain and the unreasonably dangerous nature of the conduct, together with the high likelihood of injury resulting from the conduct, was actually known by the managing agent, director, officer, or other person responsible for making policy decisions on behalf of the defendant, the amount of punitive damages shall not to exceed the greater of four times the amount of compensatory damages or $2 million. Where the defendant had a specific intent to harm, and the defendant's conduct did in fact harm the claimant, there shall be no cap on punitive damages.

Georgia

No limitations. Limits on noneconomic damages (Ga. Code §51-13-1) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, P.C. v. Nestlehutt et al., 691 S.E.2d 218  (Ga. 2010)).

Guam

Guam Code Ann. tit. 10, §10131

Damages shall be monetary only and shall be without limitation as to nature or amount unless otherwise provided by law.

 

Guam Code Ann. tit. 5, §6301

(b) The government of Guam, in the case of line agencies, shall be liable in tort for not more than $100,000 in an action for wrongful death, nor for more than $300,000 in any other tort action.

(d) (1) In the case of the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority, it shall also be liable in tort, not to exceed the limits stated in subsection (b), above, for damages arising from negligent acts of Government Health Professionals performed within facilities operated by said Authority as agents of the government of Guam at the request of the Government or performed at the private medical facility of a private physician acting as a Government Health Professional for follow up care to a house patient limited to specific treatment for the condition(s) medically diagnosed by the physician or the Emergency Room physician while treating House Patients at the Guam Memorial Hospital.

 

Guam Code Ann. tit. 7, §12116

Any exemplary damages awarded to a client in a tort suit based on health care or professional services shall be placed in a special fund that may be expended at the discretion of the administrator, Guam Memorial Hospital, for the improvement of medical services within the territory of Guam.

Hawaii

Hawaii Rev. Stat. §663-8.7

Noneconomic damages recoverable for pain and suffering shall be limited to a maximum award of $375,000.

Idaho

Idaho Code §6-1603

$250,000 limit on noneconomic damages, adjusted annually according to state's average annual wage.

 

Idaho Code §6-1604

Punitive damages limited to the greater of $250,000 or amount three times of compensatory damages.

Illinois

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch.735, §5/2-1115

Punitive damages not recoverable in medical malpractice cases.

Indiana

Ind. Code §34-18-14-3

(a) The total amount recoverable for an injury or death of a patient may not exceed the following: (3) $1.25 million for an act of malpractice that occurs: (A) after June 30, 1999; and (B) before July 1, 2017. (4) $1.65 million for an act of malpractice that occurs: (A) after June 30, 2017; and (B) before July 1, 2019. (5) $1.8 million for an act of malpractice that occurs after June 30, 2019.

(b) A health care provider qualified under this article (or IC 27-12 before its repeal) is not liable for an amount in excess of the following: (1) $250,000 for an act of malpractice that occurs: (A) after June 30, 1999; and (B) before July 1, 2017. (2) $400,000 for an act of malpractice that occurs: (A) after June 30, 2017; and (B) before July 1, 2019. (3) $500,000 for an act of malpractice that occurs after June 30, 2019.

(c) Any amount due from a judgment or settlement that is in excess of the total liability of all liable health care providers, subject to subsections (a), (b), and (d), shall be paid from the patient's compensation fund under IC 34-18-15.

(d) If a health care provider qualified under this article (or IC 27-12 before its repeal) admits liability or is adjudicated liable solely by reason of the conduct of another health care provider who is an officer, agent, or employee of the health care provider acting in the course and scope of employment and qualified under this article (or IC 27-12 before its repeal), the total amount that shall be paid to the claimant on behalf of the officer, agent, or employee and the health care provider by the health care provider or its insurer is the following: (1) $250,000 for an act of malpractice that occurs: (A) after June 30, 1999; and (B) before July 1, 2017. (2) $400,000 for an act of malpractice that occurs: (A) after June 30, 2017; and (B) before July 1, 2019. (3) $500,000 for an act of malpractice that occurs after June 30, 2019.

The balance of an adjudicated amount to which the claimant is entitled shall be paid by other liable health care providers or the patient's compensation fund, or both.

Iowa

Iowa Code §147.136

1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, in an action for damages for personal injury against a physician and surgeon, osteopathic physician and surgeon, dentist, podiatric physician, optometrist, pharmacist, chiropractor, physician assistant, or nurse licensed to practice that profession in this state, or against a hospital licensed for operation in this state, based on the alleged negligence of the practitioner in the practice of the profession or occupation, or upon the alleged negligence of the hospital in patient care, in which liability is admitted or established, the damages awarded shall not include actual economic losses incurred or to be incurred in the future by the claimant by reason of the personal injury, including but not limited to the cost of reasonable and necessary medical care, rehabilitation services, and custodial care, and the loss of services and loss of earned income, to the extent that those losses are replaced or are indemnified by insurance, or by governmental, employment, or service benefit programs or from any other source.

2. This section shall not bar recovery of economic losses replaced or indemnified by any of the following: a. Benefits received under the medical assistance program under chapter 249A. b. The assets of the claimant or of the members of the claimant's immediate family.

 

Iowa Code §147.136A

2. The total amount recoverable in any civil action for noneconomic damages for personal injury or death, whether in tort, contract, or otherwise, against a health care provider shall be limited to $250,000 for any occurrence resulting in injury or death of a patient regardless of the number of plaintiffs, derivative claims, theories of liability, or defendants in the civil action, unless the jury determines that there is a substantial or permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function, substantial disfigurement, or death, which warrants a finding that imposition of such a limitation would deprive the plaintiff of just compensation for the injuries sustained.

3. The limitation on damages contained in this section shall not apply as to a defendant if that defendant's actions constituted actual malice.

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-1903

Wrongful death damages, other than pecuniary loss sustained by an heir at law, cannot exceed in the aggregate the sum of $250,000 and costs.

 

Limits on noneconomic damages for personal injury or death (Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-19a02) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Hilburn v. Enerpipe Ltd., 309 Kan. 1127, 442 P.3d 509 (2019)).

 

Limits on exemplary or punitive damages (Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3702) declared unconstitutional by U.S. District Court (see Capital Solutions, LLC v. Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc., 695 F.Supp.2d 1149 (D.Kan. Feb. 11, 2010)).

Kentucky

No limitations
Ky. Const. §54

The General Assembly shall have no power to limit the amount to be recovered for injuries resulting in death, or for injuries to person or property.

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §40:1231.2

B. (1) The total amount recoverable for all malpractice claims for injuries to or death of a patient, exclusive of future medical care and related benefits as provided in R.S. 40:1231.3, shall not exceed $500,000 plus interest and cost.

(2) A health care provider qualified under this Part is not liable for an amount in excess of $100,000 plus interest thereon accruing after April 1, 1991, and costs specifically provided for by this Paragraph for all malpractice claims because of injuries to or death of any one patient. The sole cost for which a health care provider qualified under this Part may be assessed by a trial court shall be limited to the cost incurred prior to the rendering of a final judgment against the health care provider, not as a nominal defendant, after a trial on a malpractice claim, including but not limited to, costs assessed pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Article 970 in any instance where the board was not the offeror or offeree of the proposed settlement amount. The health care provider shall not be assessed costs in any action in which the fund intervenes or the health care provider is a nominal defendant after there has been a settlement between the health care provider and the claimant.

(3)(a) Any amount due from a judgment or settlement or from a final award in an arbitration proceeding which is in excess of the total liability of all liable health care providers, as provided in Paragraph (2) of this subsection, shall be paid from the patient's compensation fund pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 40:1231.4(C). (b) The total amounts paid in accordance with Paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection shall not exceed the limitation as provided in Paragraph (1) of this subsection.

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 18-C, §2-807

2. Wrongful death action; damages; limitations. Every wrongful death action must be brought by and in the name of the personal representative or special administrator of the deceased person, and is distributable, after payment for funeral expenses and the costs of recovery including attorney's fees, directly to the decedent's heirs without becoming part of the probate estate, except as may be specifically provided in this subsection. The amount recovered in every wrongful death action, except as specifically provided in this subsection, is for the exclusive benefit of the deceased's heirs to be distributed to the individuals and in the proportions as provided under the intestacy laws of this state in §§2-101 to 2-113. The jury may give damages as it determines a fair and just compensation with reference to the pecuniary injuries resulting from the death. Damages are payable to the estate of the deceased person only if the jury specifically makes an award payable to the estate for reasonable expenses of medical, surgical and hospital care and treatment and for reasonable funeral expenses or, in the case of a settlement, the settlement documents specifically provide for such an allocation to the estate for the same. In addition, the jury may give damages not exceeding $750,000 for the loss of comfort, society and companionship of the deceased, including any damages for emotional distress arising from the same facts as those constituting the underlying claim, to the persons for whose benefit the action is brought. The jury may also give punitive damages not exceeding $250,000.

Maryland

Md. Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code Ann. §3-2A-09

Noneconomic damages for a cause of action arising between Jan. 1, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2008, inclusive, may not exceed $650,000. The limitation on noneconomic damages shall increase by $15,000 on Jan. 1 of each year beginning Jan. 1, 2009. The increased amount shall apply to causes of action arising between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of that year, inclusive. In a wrongful death action, where there are two or more claimants or beneficiaries, the noneconomic damages for all actions may not exceed 125% of the above limitation.

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 231, §60H

$500,000 limit for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, embarrassment and other items of general damages unless there is a determination that there is a substantial or permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function or substantial disfigurement, or other special circumstances. Except as provided, if two or more plaintiffs have received verdicts or findings of such damages in a total amount, for all plaintiffs claiming damages from a single occurrence, transaction, act of malpractice, or injury which exceeds $500,000, the amount of such damages recoverable by each plaintiff will be reduced to a percentage of $500,000 proportionate to that plaintiff’s share of the total amount of such damages for all plaintiffs.

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws §600.1483

(1) In a claim for damages alleging medical malpractice by or against a person or party, the total amount of damages for noneconomic loss recoverable by all plaintiffs, resulting from the medical malpractice of all defendants, shall not exceed $280,000 unless, as the result of the negligence of one or more of the defendants, one or more of the following exceptions apply as determined by the court pursuant to section §6304, one in which case damages for noneconomic loss shall not exceed $500,000.00: (a) The plaintiff is hemiplegic, paraplegic, or quadriplegic resulting in a total permanent functional loss of one or more limbs caused by one or more of the following: (i) Injury to the brain. (ii) Injury to the spinal cord. (b) The plaintiff has permanently impaired cognitive capacity rendering him or her incapable of making independent, responsible life decisions and permanently incapable of independently performing the activities of normal, daily living. (c) There has been permanent loss of or damage to a reproductive organ resulting in the inability to procreate.

(2) In awarding damages in an action alleging medical malpractice, the trier of fact shall itemize damages into damages for economic loss and damages for noneconomic loss.

(3) As used in this section, “noneconomic loss” means damages or loss due to pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, or physical disfigurement, loss of society and companionship, whether claimed under §29222 or otherwise, loss of consortium, or other noneconomic loss.

(4) Beginning April 1, 1994, the state treasurer shall adjust the limitations on damages for noneconomic loss set forth in subsection (1) by amounts determined by the state treasurer at the end of each calendar year to reflect the cumulative annual percentage change in the consumer price index. As used in this subsection, “consumer price index” means the most comprehensive index of consumer prices available for this state from the bureau of labor statistics of the U.S. department of labor.

 

Mich. Comp. Laws §600.6098

A judge presiding over an action alleging medical malpractice shall review each verdict to determine if the limitation on noneconomic damages provided for in §1483 applies. If the limitation applies, the court shall set aside any amount of noneconomic damages in excess of the amount specified in §1483.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. §549.20

Punitive damages shall be allowed in civil actions only upon clear and convincing evidence that the acts of the defendant show deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others. The court shall specifically review the punitive damages award and shall make specific findings. The appellate court, if any, also shall review the award. Nothing in this section may be construed to restrict either court's authority to limit punitive damages.

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. §11-1-60

$500,000 limit on noneconomic damages

 

Miss. Code Ann. §11-1-65

In any civil action where an entitlement to punitive damages shall have been established under applicable laws, no award of punitive damages shall exceed the following: (i) $20 million for a defendant with a net worth of more than $1 billion; (ii) $15 million for a defendant with a net worth of more than $750 million but not more than $1 billion; (iii) $5 million for a defendant with a net worth of more than $500 million but not more than $750 million; (iv) $3.75 million for a defendant with a net worth of more than $100 million but not more than $500 million; (v) $2.5 million for a defendant with a net worth of more than $50 million but not more than $100 million; or (vi) 2% of the defendant's net worth for a defendant with a net worth of $50 million or less.

Missouri

No limitations. Limits on noneconomic damages (Mo. Rev. Stat. §538.210) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Watts v. Cox Medical Center, 376 S.W.3d 633 (Mo. 2012)).

 

No limitations. Limits on punitive damages (Mo. Rev. Stat. §510.265) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Lewellen v. Franklin, 441 S.W.3d 136 (Mo. 2014)).

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. §25-9-411

$250,000 limit on past and future damages for noneconomic loss

 

Mont. Code Ann. §27-1-220

A judge or jury may award, in addition to compensatory damages, punitive damages for the sake of example and for the purpose of punishing a defendant. An award for punitive damages may not exceed $10 million or 3% of a defendant's net worth, whichever is less.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. §44-2825

(1) The total amount recoverable under the Nebraska Hospital-Medical Liability Act from any and all health care providers and the Excess Liability Fund for any occurrence resulting in any injury or death of a patient may not exceed (a) $500,000 for any occurrence on or before Dec. 31, 1984, (b) $1 million for any occurrence after Dec. 31, 1984, and on or before Dec. 31, 1992, (c) $1.25 million for any occurrence after Dec. 31, 1992, and on or before Dec. 31, 2003, (d) $1.75 million for any occurrence after Dec. 31, 2003, and on or before Dec. 31, 2014, and (e) $2.25 million for any occurrence after Dec. 31, 2014.

(2) A health care provider qualified under the act shall not be liable to any patient or his or her representative who is covered by the act for an amount in excess of $500,000 for all claims or causes of action arising from any occurrence during the period that the act is effective with reference to such patient.

(3) Subject to the overall limits from all sources as provided in subsection (1) of this section, any amount due from a judgment or settlement which is in excess of the total liability of all liable health care providers shall be paid from the Excess Liability Fund pursuant to §§44-2831 to 44-2833.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. §41A.035

$350,000 limit on noneconomic damages

 

Nev. Rev. Stat. §42.005

Exemplary or punitive damages made pursuant to this section may not exceed: (a) Three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff if the amount of compensatory damages is $100,000 or more; or (b) $300,000 if the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff is less than $100,000.

New Hampshire

No limitations. Limits on noneconomic damages (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §507-C:7) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Carson v. Maurer, 120 N.H. 925, 424 A.2d 825 (1980) and Brannigan v. Usitalso, 134 N.H. 50, 587 A.2d 1232 (1991)).

New Jersey

N.J. Rev. Stat. §2A:15-5.14

No defendant shall be liable for punitive damages in any action in an amount in excess of five times the liability of that defendant for compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is greater.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. §41-5-6

Effective until Jan. 1, 2022

$600,000 total limit on all damages. The value of accrued medical care and related benefits shall not be subject to the $600,000 limitation. Monetary damages shall not be awarded for future medical expenses in malpractice claims. A health care provider's personal liability is limited to $200,000 for monetary damages and medical care and related benefits as provided in §41-5-7 NMSA 1978. Any amount due from a judgment or settlement in excess of $200,000 shall be paid from the patient's compensation fund.

 

Effective Jan. 1, 2022

B. Except for punitive damages and past and future medical care and related benefits, the aggregate dollar amount recoverable by all persons for or arising from any injury or death to a patient as a result of malpractice shall not exceed $750,000 per occurrence for malpractice claims against independent providers. The aggregate dollar amount includes payment to any person for any number of loss of consortium claims or other claims per occurrence that arise solely because of the injuries or death of the patient. In jury cases, the jury shall not be given any instructions dealing with this limitation. Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, the per occurrence limit on recovery shall be adjusted annually by the consumer price index for all urban consumers.

C. Except for punitive damages and past and future medical care and related benefits, the aggregate dollar amount recoverable by all persons for or arising from an injury or death to a patient as a result of malpractice shall not exceed $4 million per occurrence for claims brought against a hospital or outpatient health care facility if the injury or death occurred in calendar year 2022. The aggregate dollar amount includes payment to any person for any number of loss of consortium claims or other claims per occurrence that arise solely because of the injuries or death of the patient. In jury cases, the jury shall not be given any instructions dealing with this limitation.

D. Except for punitive damages and past and future medical care and related benefits, the aggregate dollar amount recoverable by all persons for or arising from an injury or death to a patient as a result of malpractice shall not exceed $4.5 million per occurrence for claims brought against a hospital or outpatient health care facility if the injury or death occurred in calendar year 2023. The aggregate dollar amount includes payment to any person for any number of loss of consortium claims or other claims per occurrence that arise solely because of the injuries or death of the patient. In jury cases, the jury shall not be given any instructions dealing with this limitation.

E. Except for punitive damages and past and future medical care and related benefits, the aggregate dollar amount recoverable by all persons for or arising from an injury or death to a patient as a result of malpractice shall not exceed $5 million per occurrence for claims brought against a hospital or outpatient health care facility if the injury or death occurred in calendar year 2024. The aggregate dollar amount includes payment to any person for any number of loss of consortium claims or other claims per occurrence that arise solely because of the injuries or death of the patient. In jury cases, the jury shall not be given any instructions dealing with this limitation.

F. Except for punitive damages and past and future medical care and related benefits, the aggregate dollar amount recoverable by all persons for or arising from an injury or death to a patient as a result of malpractice shall not exceed $5.5 million per occurrence for claims brought against a hospital or outpatient health care facility if the injury or death occurred in calendar year 2025. The aggregate dollar amount includes payment to any person for any number of loss of consortium claims or other claims per occurrence that arise solely because of the injuries or death of the patient. In jury cases, the jury shall not be given any instructions dealing with this limitation.

G. Except for punitive damages and past and future medical care and related benefits, the aggregate dollar amount recoverable by all persons for or arising from an injury or death to a patient as a result of malpractice shall not exceed $6 million per occurrence for claims brought against a hospital or outpatient health care facility if the injury or death occurred in 2026; provided that beginning Jan. 1, 2027, the per occurrence limit shall be adjusted annually by the consumer price index for all urban consumers. The aggregate dollar amount includes payment to any person for any number of loss of consortium claims or other claims per occurrence that arise solely because of the injuries or death of the patient. In jury cases, the jury shall not be given any instructions dealing with this limitation.

H. The value of accrued medical care and related benefits shall not be subject to any limitation.

I. A health care provider's personal liability is limited to $250,000 for monetary damages and medical care and related benefits as provided in §41-5-7 NMSA 1978. Any amount due from a judgment or settlement in excess of $250,000 shall be paid from the fund except as provided in Subsection K of this section.

J. The term “occurrence” shall not be construed in such a way as to limit recovery to only one maximum statutory payment if separate acts or omissions cause additional or enhanced injury or harm as a result of the separate acts or omissions. A patient who suffers two or more distinct injuries as a result of two or more different acts or omissions that occur at different times by one or more health care providers is entitled to up to the maximum statutory recovery for each injury.

K. Until Jan. 1, 2027, amounts due from a judgment or settlement against a hospital or outpatient health care facility in excess of $750,000, excluding past and future medical expenses, shall be paid by the hospital or outpatient health care facility and not by the fund. Beginning Jan. 1, 2027, amounts due from a judgment or settlement against a hospital or outpatient health care facility shall not be paid from the fund.

 

N.M. Stat. Ann. §41-5-7

Effective until Jan. 1, 2022

Awards of future medical care and related benefits shall not be subject to the $600,000 limitation imposed in §41-5-6.

 

Effective Jan. 1, 2022

A. Awards of past and future medical care and related benefits shall not be subject to the limitations of recovery imposed in §41-5-6 NMSA 1978.

New York

No applicable statute.

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. §1D-25

Punitive damages shall not exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.

 

N.C. Gen. Stat. §90-21.19

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this section, in any medical malpractice action in which the plaintiff is entitled to an award of noneconomic damages, the total amount of noneconomic damages for which judgment is entered against all defendants shall not exceed $500,000. Judgment shall not be entered against any defendant for noneconomic damages in excess of $500,000 for all claims brought by all parties arising out of the same professional services. On Jan. 1 of every third year, beginning with Jan. 1, 2014, the Office of State Budget and Management shall reset the limitation on damages for noneconomic loss set forth in this subsection to be equal to $500,000 times the ratio of the Consumer Price Index for November of the prior year to the Consumer Price Index for Nov. 2011. The Office of State Budget and Management shall inform the Revisor of Statutes of the reset limitation. The Revisor of Statutes shall publish this reset limitation as an editor's note to this section. In the event that any verdict or award of noneconomic damages stated pursuant to G.S. 90-21.19B exceeds these limits, the court shall modify the judgment as necessary to conform to the requirements of this subsection.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, there shall be no limit on the amount of noneconomic damages for which judgment may be entered against a defendant if the trier of fact finds both of the following: (1) The plaintiff suffered disfigurement, loss of use of part of the body, permanent injury or death. (2) The defendant's acts or failures, which are the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries, were committed in reckless disregard of the rights of others, grossly negligent, fraudulent, intentional or with malice.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code §32-42-02

$500,000 limit on noneconomic damages

 

N.D. Cent. Code §32-03.2-08

Economic damage awards in excess of $250,000 subject to court review.

N. Mariana Islands

Statutes unavailable

Ohio

Ohio Const. Art. 1, §19a

The amount of damages recoverable by civil action in the courts for death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another, shall not be limited by law.

 

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §2315.21

(D)(1) In a tort action, the trier of fact shall determine the liability of any defendant for punitive or exemplary damages and the amount of those damages.

(2) Except as provided in division (D)(6) of this section, all of the following apply regarding any award of punitive or exemplary damages in a tort action: (a) The court shall not enter judgment for punitive or exemplary damages in excess of two times the amount of the compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff from that defendant, as determined pursuant to division (B)(2) or (3) of this section. (b) If the defendant is a small employer or individual, the court shall not enter judgment for punitive or exemplary damages in excess of the lesser of two times the amount of the compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff from the defendant or 10% of the employer's or individual's net worth when the tort was committed up to a maximum of $350,000, as determined pursuant to division (B)(2) or (3) of this section. (c) Any attorney's fees awarded as a result of a claim for punitive or exemplary damages shall not be considered for purposes of determining the cap on punitive damages.

(3) No award of prejudgment interest under division (C)(1) of §1343.03 of the Revised Code shall include any prejudgment interest on punitive or exemplary damages found by the trier of fact.

(4) In a tort action, the burden of proof shall be upon a plaintiff in question, by clear and convincing evidence, to establish that the plaintiff is entitled to recover punitive or exemplary damages.

(5)(a) In any tort action, except as provided in division (D)(5)(b) or (6) of this section, punitive or exemplary damages shall not be awarded against a defendant if that defendant files with the court a certified judgment, judgment entries, or other evidence showing that punitive or exemplary damages have already been awarded and have been collected, in any state or federal court, against that defendant based on the same act or course of conduct that is alleged to have caused the injury or loss to person or property for which the plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and that the aggregate of those previous punitive or exemplary damage awards exceeds the maximum amount of punitive or exemplary damages that may be awarded under division (D)(2) of this section against that defendant in the tort action. (b) Notwithstanding division (D)(5)(a) of this section and except as provided in division (D)(6) of this section, punitive or exemplary damages may be awarded against a defendant in either of the following types of tort actions: (i) In subsequent tort actions involving the same act or course of conduct for which punitive or exemplary damages have already been awarded, if the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the plaintiff will offer new and substantial evidence of previously undiscovered, additional behavior of a type described in division (C) of this section on the part of that defendant, other than the injury or loss for which the plaintiff seeks compensatory damages. In that case, the court shall make specific findings of fact in the record to support its conclusion. The court shall reduce the amount of any punitive or exemplary damages otherwise awardable pursuant to this section by the sum of the punitive or exemplary damages awards previously rendered against that defendant in any state or federal court. The court shall not inform the jury about the court's determination and action under division (D)(5)(b)(i) of this section.

(ii) In subsequent tort actions involving the same act or course of conduct for which punitive or exemplary damages have already been awarded, if the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the total amount of prior punitive or exemplary damages awards was totally insufficient to punish that defendant's behavior of a type described in division (C) of this section and to deter that defendant and others from similar behavior in the future. In that case, the court shall make specific findings of fact in the record to support its conclusion. The court shall reduce the amount of any punitive or exemplary damages otherwise awardable pursuant to this section by the sum of the punitive or exemplary damages awards previously rendered against that defendant in any state or federal court. The court shall not inform the jury about the court's determination and action under division (D)(5)(b)(ii) of this section.

(6) Division (D)(2) of this section does not apply to a tort action where the alleged injury, death, or loss to person or property resulted from the defendant acting with one or more of the culpable mental states of purposely and knowingly as described in §2901.22 of the Revised Code and when the defendant has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a criminal offense that is a felony, that had as an element of the offense one or more of the culpable mental states of purposely and knowingly as described in that section, and that is the basis of the tort action.

 

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §2323.43

No limitation on compensatory damages that represent the economic loss of the person who is awarded the damages in the civil action. Noneconomic damages shall not exceed the greater of $250,000 or an amount that is equal to three times the plaintiff’s economic loss, as determined by the trier of fact, to a maximum of $350,000 for each plaintiff or a maximum of $500,000 for each occurrence. Noneconomic damages may exceed the amount described above but shall not exceed $500,000 for each plaintiff or $1 million for each occurrence if the noneconomic losses of the plaintiff are for either of the following: (a) Permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system; (b) Permanent physical functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for self and perform life sustaining activities.

Oklahoma

Okla. Const. Art. 23, §7

The right of action to recover damages for injuries resulting in death shall never be abrogated, and the amount recoverable shall not be subject to any statutory limitation, provided however, that the Legislature may provide an amount of compensation under the Workers' Compensation Law for death resulting from injuries suffered in employment covered by such law, in which case the compensation so provided shall be exclusive, and the Legislature may enact statutory limits on the amount recoverable in civil actions or claims against the state or any of its political subdivisions.

 

Okla. Stat. tit. 23, §9.1

Where the jury finds by clear and convincing evidence that: The defendant has been guilty of reckless disregard for the rights of others; the jury, may award punitive damages in an amount not to exceed the greater of: $100,000, or the amount of the actual damages awarded. Where the jury finds by clear and convincing evidence that: The defendant has acted intentionally and with malice towards others; the jury may award punitive damages in an amount not to exceed the greatest of: a. $500,000, b. twice the amount of actual damages awarded, or c. the increased financial benefit derived by the defendant as a direct result of the conduct causing the injury to the plaintiff and other persons or entities. Where the jury finds by clear and convincing evidence that: The defendant has acted intentionally and with malice towards others; and the court finds that there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted intentionally and with malice and engaged in conduct life-threatening to humans, the jury, may award punitive damages in any amount the jury deems appropriate, without regard to the limitations set forth above.

 

Limits on noneconomic damages (Okla. Stat. tit. 23, §61.2) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Beason v. I. E. Miller Services, Inc., 441 P.3d 1107 (Okla. 2019)).

Oregon

No limitations. Limits on noneconomic damages (Or. Rev. Stat. §31.710) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Lakin v. Senco Products, Inc., 329 Or. 62, 987 P.2d 463 (Or. 1999)).

 

Or. Rev. Stat. §31.740

Punitive damages may not be awarded against a health practitioner, as defined, if the health practitioner was engaged in conduct regulated by the license, registration or certificate issued by the appropriate governing body and was acting within the scope of practice for which the license, registration or certificate was issued and without malice.

Pennsylvania

No limitations.

Pa. Const. Art. 3, §18

The General Assembly may enact laws requiring the payment by employers, or employers and employees jointly, of reasonable compensation for injuries to employees arising in the course of their employment, and for occupational diseases of employees, whether or not such injuries or diseases result in death, and regardless of fault of employer or employee, and fixing the basis of ascertainment of such compensation and the maximum and minimum limits thereof, and providing special or general remedies for the collection thereof; but in no other cases shall the General Assembly limit the amount to be recovered for injuries resulting in death, or for injuries to persons or property, and in case of death from such injuries, the right of action shall survive, and the General Assembly shall prescribe for whose benefit such actions shall be prosecuted.

 

Pa. Stat. tit. 40, §1303.505

Except in cases alleging intentional misconduct, punitive damages against an individual physician shall not exceed 200% of the compensatory damages awarded. Punitive damages, when awarded, shall not be less than $100,000 unless a lower verdict amount is returned by the trier of fact. Upon the entry of a verdict including an award of punitive damages, the punitive damages portion of the award shall be allocated as follows: (1) 75% shall be paid to the prevailing party; and (2) 25% shall be paid to the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund.

 

Pa. Stat. tit. 40, §1303.509

The trier of fact may incorporate into any future medical expense award adjustments to account for reasonably anticipated inflation and medical care improvements as presented by competent evidence.

Puerto Rico

P.R. Code Ann. tit. 32, §3077

Actions for damages for alleged acts of malpractice to the health professionals who work in the areas of obstetrics, orthopedics, general surgery or trauma exclusively at public health institutions of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, its dependencies, instrumentalities and/or municipalities, regardless of whether said institutions are being administered or operated by a private entity limited to up to the sum of $75,000. Damages shall not exceed $150,000 when, because of said act or omission, damages are caused to more than one person or when there are several causes of action to which a single prejudiced party is entitled. If according to the conclusions of the court it should arise that the sum of the damages caused to each of the persons exceeds $150,000, the court shall proceed to distribute said sum prorated among the plaintiffs, taking as [basis] the damages suffered by each one.

Rhode Island

No applicable statute.

A. Samoa

Statutes unavailable

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. §15-32-220

Noneconomic damages limited to $350,000 against single health care provider or facility. In actions against more than one facility, provider or combination, the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages for each health care institution and each health care provider is limited to an amount not to exceed $350,000 for each claimant, and the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages for all health care institutions and health care providers is limited to an amount not to exceed $1.05 million for each claimant. Limits increased or decreased annually based on Consumer Price Index. No limits on noneconomic or punitive damages if defendant is grossly negligent, wilful, wanton, or reckless, and such conduct was the proximate cause of the claimant's noneconomic damages, or if the defendant has engaged in fraud or misrepresentation related to the claim, or if the defendant altered or destroyed medical records with the purpose of avoiding a claim or liability to the claimant.

 

S.C. Code Ann. §15-32-530

(A) Except as provided in subsections (B) and (C), an award of punitive damages may not exceed the greater of three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to each claimant entitled thereto or the sum of $500,000.

(B) The limitation provided in subsection (A) may not be disclosed to the jury. If the jury returns a verdict for punitive damages in excess of the maximum amount specified in subsection (A), the trial court should first determine whether: (1) the wrongful conduct proven under this section was motivated primarily by unreasonable financial gain and determines that the unreasonably dangerous nature of the conduct, together with the high likelihood of injury resulting from the conduct, was known or approved by the managing agent, director, officer, or the person responsible for making policy decisions on behalf of the defendant; or (2) the defendant's actions could subject the defendant to conviction of a felony and that act or course of conduct is a proximate cause of the plaintiff's damages; If the trial court determines that either item (1) or (2) apply, then punitive damages must not exceed the greater of four times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to each claimant entitled thereto or the sum of $2 million and, if necessary, the trial court shall reduce the award and enter judgment for punitive damages in the maximum amount allowed by this subsection. If the trial court determines that neither item (1) or (2) apply, then the award of punitive damages shall be subject to the maximum amount provided by subsection (A) and the trial court shall reduce the award and enter judgment for punitive damages in the maximum amount allowed by subsection (A).

(C) However, when the trial court determines one of the following apply, there shall be no cap on punitive damages: (1) at the time of injury the defendant had an intent to harm and determines that the defendant's conduct did in fact harm the claimant; or (2) the defendant has pled guilty to or been convicted of a felony arising out of the same act or course of conduct complained of by the plaintiff and that act or course of conduct is a proximate cause of the plaintiff's damages; or (3) the defendant acted or failed to act while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, other than lawfully prescribed drugs administered in accordance with a prescription, or any intentionally consumed glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the degree that the defendant's judgment is substantially impaired.

(D) At the end of each calendar year, the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office must determine the increase or decrease in the ratio of the Consumer Price Index to the index as of Dec. 31 of the previous year, and the maximum amount recoverable for punitive damages pursuant to subsection (A) must be increased or decreased accordingly. As soon as practicable after this adjustment is calculated, the executive director of the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office shall submit the revised maximum amount recoverable for punitive damages to the State Register for publication, pursuant to §1-23-40(2), and the revised maximum amount recoverable for punitive damages becomes effective upon publication in the State Register. For purposes of this subsection, “Consumer Price Index” means the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers as published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §21-3-11

The total general damages which may be awarded may not exceed the sum of $500,000. No limitation on the amount of special damages which may be awarded.

 

S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §21-3-2

Punitive damages in discretion of jury.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. §29-39-102

(a) ln a civil action, each injured plaintiff may be awarded: (1) Compensation for economic damages suffered by each injured plaintiff; and (2) Compensation for any noneconomic damages suffered by each injured plaintiff not to exceed $750,000 for all injuries and occurrences that were or could have been asserted, regardless of whether the action is based on a single act or omission or a series of acts or omissions that allegedly caused the injuries or death.

(c) lf an injury or loss is catastrophic in nature, as defined, the $750,000 amount limiting noneconomic damages, as set forth in subsections (a)(2) through (b) is increased to, but the amount of damages awarded as noneconomic damages shall not exceed, $1 million.

(e) All noneconomic damages awarded to each injured plaintiff, including damages for pain and suffering, as well as any claims of a spouse or children for loss of consortium or any derivative claim for noneconomic damages, shall not exceed in the aggregate a total of $750,000, unless subdivision (c) applies, in which case the aggregate amount shall not exceed $1 million.

(h) The limitation on the amount of noneconomic damages imposed by subsections (a)(2) through (e) shall not apply to personal injury and wrongful death actions: (1) lf the defendant had a specific intent to inflict serious physical injury, and the defendant's intentional conduct did, in fact, injure the plaintiff; (2) lf the defendant intentionally falsified, destroyed or concealed records containing material evidence with the purpose of wrongfully evading liability in the case at issue, provided, however, that this subsection does not apply to the good faith withholding of records pursuant to privileges and other laws applicable to discovery, nor does it apply to the management of records in the normal course of business or in compliance with the defendant's document retention policy or state or federal regulations; or (3) lf the defendant was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicant or stimulant, resulting in his or her judgment being substantially impaired, and causing the injuries or death.

 

Limits on punitive damages (Tenn. Code Ann. §29-39-104) declared unconstitutional by 6th Circuit Court of Appeals (see Lindenberg v. Jackson National Life Insurance Company, 912 F.3d 348 6th Cir. (Tenn. 2018)).

Texas

Tex. Civil Practice & Remedies Code Ann. §41.008

(a) In an action in which a claimant seeks recovery of damages, the trier of fact shall determine the amount of economic damages separately from the amount of other compensatory damages.

(b) Exemplary damages awarded against a defendant may not exceed an amount equal to the greater of: (1)(A) two times the amount of economic damages; plus (B) an amount equal to any noneconomic damages found by the jury, not to exceed $750,000; or (2) $200,000.

 

Tex. Civil Practice & Remedies Code Ann. §74.301

$250,000 limit per claimant for noneconomic damages against physician or provider. §250,000 limit per claimant against single institution. For claims against multiple institutions, the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages for each health care institution, inclusive of all persons and entities for which vicarious liability theories may apply, shall be limited to an amount not to exceed $250,000 for each claimant and the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages for all health care institutions, inclusive of all persons and entities for which vicarious liability theories may apply, shall be limited to an amount not to exceed $500,000 for each claimant.

 

Tex. Civil Practice & Remedies Code Ann. §74.303

In wrongful death claims against physician, the limit of civil liability for all damages, including exemplary damages, shall be limited to an amount not to exceed $500,000 for each claimant. The limitation will be adjusted by the Consumer Price Index.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. §78B-3-410

For a cause of action arising on or after July 1, 2002, and before May 15, 2010 the $400,000 limitation described in Subsection (1)(b) shall be adjusted for inflation as provided in Subsection (2); and for a cause of action arising on or after May 15, 2010, $450,000.

Beginning July 1, 2002 and each July 1 thereafter until July 1, 2009, the limit for damages under Subsection (1)(c) shall be adjusted for inflation by the state treasurer. By July 15 of each year until July 1, 2009, the state treasurer shall: (i) certify the inflation-adjusted limit calculated under this Subsection (2); and (ii) inform the Administrative Office of the Courts of the certified limit. The amount resulting from Subsection (2)(a) shall: (i) be rounded to the nearest $10,000; and (ii) apply to a cause of action arising on or after the date the annual adjustment is made.

The limit under Subsection (1) does not apply to awards of punitive damages.

Vermont

No applicable statute.

Virginia

Va. Code §8.01-38.1

In any action accruing on or after July 1, 1988, including an action for medical malpractice under Chapter 21.1 (§8.01-581.1 et seq.), the total amount awarded for punitive damages against all defendants found to be liable shall be determined by the trier of fact. In no event shall the total amount awarded for punitive damages exceed $350,000. The jury shall not be advised of the limitation prescribed by this section. However, if a jury returns a verdict for punitive damages in excess of the maximum amount specified in this section, the judge shall reduce the award and enter judgment for such damages in the maximum amount provided by this section.

 

Va. Code §8.01-581.15

In any verdict returned against a health care provider in an action for malpractice where the act or acts of malpractice occurred on or after Aug. 1, 1999, which is tried by a jury or in any judgment entered against a health care provider in such an action which is tried without a jury, the total amount recoverable for any injury to, or death of, a patient shall not exceed the following, corresponding amount:

Aug. 1, 1999, through June 30, 2000      $1.50 million

July 1, 2000, through June 30, 2001        $1.55 million

July 1, 2001, through June 30, 2002        $1.60 million

July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2003        $1.65 million

July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2004        $1.70 million

July 1, 2004, through June 30, 2005        $1.75 million

July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006        $1.80 million

July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007        $1.85 million

July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008        $1.925 million

July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2012        $2.00 million

July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013        $2.05 million

July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014        $2.10 million

July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015        $2.15 million

July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016        $2.20 million

July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017        $2.25 million

July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018        $2.30 million

July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019        $2.35 million

July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020        $2.40 million

July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021        $2.45 million

July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022        $2.50 million

July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023        $2.55 million

July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024        $2.60 million

July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025        $2.65 million

July 1, 2025, through June 30, 2026        $2.70 million

July 1, 2026, through June 30, 2027        $2.75 million

July 1, 2027, through June 30, 2028        $2.80 million

July 1, 2028, through June 30, 2029        $2.85 million

July 1, 2029, through June 30, 2030        $2.90 million

July 1, 2030, through June 30, 2031        $2.95 million

In any verdict returned against a health care provider in an action for malpractice where the act or acts of malpractice occurred on or after July 1, 2031, which is tried by a jury or in any judgment entered against a health care provider in such an action which is tried without a jury, the total amount recoverable for any injury to, or death of, a patient shall not exceed $3 million. Each annual increase shall apply to the act or acts of malpractice occurring on or after the effective date of the increase.

U.S. Virgin Islands

V.I. Code Ann. tit. 27, §166b

The total amount recoverable for any injury of a patient may not exceed $250,000 per occurrence. Only economic damages and noneconomic damages may be awarded. The total amount awarded for noneconomic damages for any injury to a patient as a result of a single occurrence may not exceed $75,000. No punitive damages may be awarded.

Washington

No limitations. Limits on noneconomic damages (Wash. Rev. Code §4.56.250) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Sofie v. Fireboard Corp., 112 Wash. 2d 636, 771 P.2d 711 (1989)).

West Virginia

W. Va. Code §55-7B-8

(a) In any professional liability action brought against a health care provider pursuant to this article, the maximum amount recoverable as compensatory damages for noneconomic loss may not exceed $250,000 for each occurrence, regardless of the number of plaintiffs or the number of defendants or, in the case of wrongful death, regardless of the number of distributees, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b) The plaintiff may recover compensatory damages for noneconomic loss in excess of the limitation described in subsection (a) of this section, but not in excess of $500,000 for each occurrence, regardless of the number of plaintiffs or the number of defendants or, in the case of wrongful death, regardless of the number of distributees, where the damages for noneconomic losses suffered by the plaintiff were for: (1) Wrongful death; (2) permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb or loss of a bodily organ system; or (3) permanent physical or mental functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for himself or herself and perform life-sustaining activities.

(c) On Jan. 1, 2004, and in each year thereafter, the limitation for compensatory damages contained in subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall increase to account for inflation by an amount equal to the Consumer Price Index published by the U.S. Department of Labor, not to exceed 150% of the amounts specified in said subsections.

(d) The limitations on noneconomic damages contained in subsections (a), (b), (c) and (e) of this section are not available to any defendant in an action pursuant to this article which does not have medical professional liability insurance in the aggregate amount of at least $1 million for each occurrence covering the medical injury which is the subject of the action.

(e) If subsection (a) or (b) of this section, as enacted during the 2003 regular session of the Legislature, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is found by a court of law to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, the maximum amount recoverable as damages for noneconomic loss in a professional liability action brought against a health care provider under this article shall thereafter not exceed $1 million.

 

W. Va. Code §55-7-29

(c) The amount of punitive damages that may be awarded in a civil action may not exceed the greater of four times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. §893.55

The limit on total noneconomic damages for each occurrence on or after April 6, 2006, shall be $750,000.

Wis. Stat. §895.043

(6) Limitation on damages. Punitive damages received by the plaintiff may not exceed twice the amount of any compensatory damages recovered by the plaintiff or $200,000, whichever is greater. This subsection does not apply to a plaintiff seeking punitive damages from a defendant whose actions under sub. (3) included the operation of a vehicle, including a motor vehicle as defined under §340.01(35), a snowmobile as defined under §340.01(58a), an all-terrain vehicle as defined under §340. 01(2g), a utility terrain vehicle as defined under §23.33(1)(ng), and a boat as defined under §30.50(2), while under the influence of an intoxicant to a degree that rendered the defendant incapable of safe operation of the vehicle. In this subsection, “intoxicant” has the meaning given in §30.50(4e).

Wyoming

No limitations.

Wyo. Const. Art. 10, §4

(a) No law shall be enacted limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the injury or death of any person. (b) Any section of this constitution to the contrary notwithstanding, for any civil action where a person alleges that a health care provider's act or omission in the provision of health care resulted in death or injury, the legislature may by general law: (i) Mandate alternative dispute resolution or review by a medical review panel before the filing of a civil action against the health care provider.

 

Heather Morton is a senior fellow in NCSL's Fiscal Affairs Program. She covers financial services, alcohol production and sales, telecommunications and medical malpractice issues for NCSL.

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