For those affected by a medical malpractice situation, it is obvious that it has caused many damages – physical, mental, and emotional. Although there is compensation in won medical malpractice cases, in some states, including North Dakota, there is a medical malpractice award cap. Simply put, your recovery is limited to a certain dollar amount that is set by the legislature.
The sad reality of the medical malpractice cap.
In 2006, a 20-year-old Florida woman gave birth at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. Shortly after, she bled to death. Her family sued due to the alleged negligence by the doctors and nurses which caused her death. The family was awarded nearly $1 million in economic damages and $2 million in noneconomic damages (such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.). Under the Florida law, the amount of noneconomic damages allowed was limited to $1 million per incident. However, due to the cap on medical malpractice noneconomic damages, the last part of the award was cut in half.
Is the medical malpractice cap constitutional?
Recent developments in the constitutionality of the medical malpractice cap in Florida has brought forward the question about how constitutional the malpractice cap is in cases, which could impact current cases in North Dakota. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that this cap on noneconomic damages in wrongful death cases inhibits on the state constitution’s equal protection clause and is therefore unconstitutional. In North Dakota, that cap is currently $500,000, and has not yet been found unconstitutional.
While it is easier to recognize economic damages in malpractice cases, noneconomic damages are considered “subjective” and difficult to encapsulate into a dollar amount, seeing as a price tag cannot be attached to emotional distress.
With medical malpractice cases being quite complex to begin with, it can be an overwhelming process to go through. Luckily, the knowledgeable lawyers at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss Attorneys have experience representing a broad range of malpractice cases. For more information on how to proceed with your medical malpractice case, contact a O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss attorney today.