142532472Each state in the nation has autonomy in terms of the damage caps it sets in regards to civil suits. While many states have no caps on damages (and definitely no cap on the amount of economic damages that a victim of medical malpractice can recover), many others—including California, Florida, and Massachusetts—cap the amount of non-economic damages a victim can recover. Non-economic damages include damages like pain and suffering. However, some states’ Supreme Courts are hearing cases over malpractice awards in order to determine whether or not a cap is constitutional.



Florida Supreme Court Says No to Medical Malpractice Cap

In 2003, a law was passed by the Florida legislature that capped the amount of non-economic damages recoverable in a medical malpractice suit at $500,000, or $1,000,000, depending on the circumstances. However, that cap was rejected more than 10 years later, with the Supreme Court ruling that a cap on non-economic damages was unconstitutional due to its discriminatory nature. To be specific, Justice R. Fred Lewis, who wrote the opinion for the court, concluded that the cap “discriminated against those who are more grievously injured, those who sustain the greatest damage and loss, and multiple claimants.”


California Supreme Court Hears Malpractice Cap Case, Upholds Former Law


Florida is not the only state to question the medical malpractice damages cap; the issue has been contentious in California too, which imposes a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, which stems from a law passed in 1975. Known as the MICRA (Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act) cap, the Supreme Court of California agreed to hear Hughes v. Pham, a case challenging the act, in 2014. However, unlike the Florida Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court issued a “grant and hold” order on the case in 2015, preserving the constitutionality of MICRA. In other words, no changes to the state’s medical malpractice cap have been made.


Learn More About Your Right to Damages from a Boston Malpractice Attorney


In Massachusetts, the amount of noneconomic damages recoverable in a medical malpractice case is currently capped at $500,000 in most cases (with exceptions to this cap made for substantial or permanent loss or impairment of bodily function). As many other states challenge the constitutionality of damage caps, it will be interesting to see what the state of Massachusetts determines to do.


Medical malpractice attorney Doug Lovenberg, or Lovenberg & Associates, P.C. can help you recover your full damages amount if you’re a victim of medical malpractice. To schedule your free case consultation today, call us now at 617-973-9950 or contact us online.