Damage Caps in Ohio Medical Malpractice Claims
Like many states, Ohio has a statute that limits the amount of money that can be awarded to a victim of medical malpractice. This limit is called a “Damage Cap” and is put in place to “cap” the amount of compensation the plaintiff will actually receive after winning a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Before discussing specific limitations, it’s important to understand the two different types of damages in medical malpractice cases: economic and non-economic.
Economic Damages Vs. Non-Economic Damages
When a person is the victim of medical malpractice in Ohio, they are able to collect money for things such as medical care, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and several other financial burdens that resulted from the malpractice. These financial reimbursements are called “Economic Damages” and are awarded as a direct result of measurable financial loss. These damages are things that can be visually added up, resulting in a specific dollar amount that the plaintiff should be compensated for.
Another kind of compensation that a victim can receive is called “Non-Economic Damages”. Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering, permanent disability, emotional distress, trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of the malpractice incident. These damages vary from case to case and tend to be seen as more “subjective” due to the varying interpretations of each topic. Although non-economic damages are not necessarily measurable, some of the greatest losses after a catastrophic injury tend to be in this category. For example, if someone is seriously injured and cannot take part in “normal” activities such as standing for long periods of time, dressing themselves or their children, or taking walks with their family, their lives have forever been altered and they can no longer enjoy the lifestyle they once had.
Now that you understand the difference between economic and non-economic damages, we can address the question of damage caps in Ohio.
“Are There Any Damage Caps in Ohio Medical Malpractice Claims?”
In 2003, the Ohio legislature passed a statute that limits the amount of compensation awarded to victims of medical malpractice. However, the medical malpractice damages cap only applies to non-economic damages.
Under this statute, the plaintiff cannot be awarded more than $250,000 OR three times the plaintiff’s economic damages, maxing out at $350,000 per person. If the malpractice incident resulted in permanent or catastrophic injuries, however, the cap may be increased to $500,000 per victim.
Although $500,000 can appear to be a large award, for many people, it doesn’t scratch the surface of the pain and suffering they will go through as a result of the incident. Many malpractice cases result in permanent, irreversible damages to the victim and prevent them from doing the things they once enjoyed.
What Does This Mean for Victims?
Because Ohio has a cap on non-economic damages, a jury could award the plaintiff 10 Million dollars for pain and suffering, but the victim will only receive what is legal under the cap. This compensation could be as little as $250,000, or 40% less than actually awarded.
Unfortunately, the emotional damage sustained from a malpractice incident can immeasurable. If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to seek help immediately. The statute of limitations in Ohio is limiting and requires prompt action in order to receive compensation.
Speaking with an experienced attorney can help get some of the justice you deserve.