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.
Do You Know Ohio Laws? | Damage Caps
Transcript: Folks, Allen Tittle here, Cleveland Medical Malpractice lawyer. One of the biggest reasons that I can’t take cases that I get calls about are the damage caps here in Ohio. And I have a theory because when I talk to people on the phone, they have no idea that the general public has no idea that there are damage caps here in Ohio. So a damage cap is this: say a jury awards 10 million dollars for a specific injury, but that injury is one of those that the damages is capped, therefore that jury reward will be reduced from 10 million to here in Ohio to 250,00$ now there are exceptions and I don’t want to shoot a video about those expectations, what I want to do is hit the streets and I want to figure out does the general public know about damage caps? And here is what we found out. *Jazz music plays* So say that you have a medical malpractice case okay so say that a doctor was preforming surgery on your hand and he cut a tendon or you know something that he wasn’t supposed to cut, so you lost feeling in it, you can’t really operate like you, you used too, maybe you have to relearn how to write or eat. Under Ohio law, how much money do you think you’d be able to receive for the pain and suffering and emotional distress, that doesn’t count lost wages or medical bills? Okay, alright, I guess, I’m gonna guess it’s determined by a jury. Yeah, so that seems like it’d be the right answer, right? So, if the case does go to trial a jury can determine maybe that you deserve 10 million dollars, but in reality, under the damage cap in Ohio, you can only receive up to $250,000. So even if they think that you deserve that 10 million for emotional distress that you’ve gone through, you can only receive up to $250,000. A million dollars maybe? A million dollars? Okay, so actually it’s only $250,000. In Ohio we have what’s called a damage cap. So, even if it goes to trial and a jury says that you deserve 10 million dollars for this injury, you could only receive $250,000 under this cap. $250,000. B is your final answer? You’re right! It is $250,000. So, in Ohio we have a damage cap, so even if a jury told you that you should receive 10 million dollars, under Ohio law the most you can receive is $250,000. And that’s per hand? That is per hand! Because two hands you get $500,000. You’re right I think that would count. Thank you so much. To learn more about damage caps in Ohio, visit tittelawfirm.com or call 216-285-9991.
“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.