Two Ways Around Medical Malpractice Damage Caps


Winning a medical malpractice lawsuit doesn't mean you'll get all the damages and losses you're owed. A number of states have damage caps limiting the amount of money plaintiffs can recover for non-economic losses (e.g. pain and suffering, long-term disability) and sometimes for economic losses (e.g. wages, property damage) as well. However, it may be possible to get around this constraint. Here are two options to discuss with your attorney.

Pursue Multiple Claims

If multiple issues in the medical incident caused your injury, you can get around damage caps by pursuing separate claims. For instance, consider a case in which you were hurt during a procedure where the doctor used a robotic surgical machine to make incisions. The machine malfunctioned while the doctor was operating, but the surgeon made things worse by prescribing the wrong medication. You could file two separate lawsuits: a medical malpractice lawsuit against healthcare provider and a product liability suit against the manufacturer of the machine.

Be aware, though, you will only recover as much money between the two lawsuits to make you whole. If your non-economic damages were estimated to be $500,000 but the law states you can only get a maximum of $300,000 per lawsuit, you would only get $300,000 from one plaintiff and $200,000 from the second. This is to prevent plaintiffs from being paid twice for the same thing.

Separate the Incident into Multiple Events

Another way to get around damage caps is to separate the incident into multiple events or occurrences. For example, a woman who was pregnant with twins was injured when the doctor failed to provide adequate prenatal care. The defendant stated the entire incident only counted as one occurrence of negligence. However, the woman's attorney argued she experienced two acts of negligence because her children suffered multiple infections that occurred at different times in the pregnancy. The court agreed and ordered the case be tried as two separate counts of negligence.

To use this workaround effectively, you'll need to establish every act of negligence as separate events independent from each other. If the defendant can tie the events to a single cause or show they are part of a chain reaction (e.g. injury A lead to injury B), the court may treat all of your injuries as one case of negligence instead of multiple.

There may be other ways to get around medical malpractice damage caps. Contact a personal injury attorney, like those at R.J. Marzella & Associates, P.C., for assistance with your case.


25 March 2017

Consulting with an Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer

Ten years ago, I was injured in a car wreck while commuting to work. When a driver rear-ended my car, I hurt my back. Unfortunately, I had to undergo a couple of weeks of physical therapy. Even after receiving physical therapy, my back never felt as good as it did prior to the wreck. Have you been injured in a car wreck recently? Consider talking with an experienced accident and personal injury lawyer. This type of attorney can help you decide whether filing a lawsuit is your best course of action to take. On this blog, I hope you will discover the benefits of speaking with an accident and personal injury attorney soon after getting injured in a car wreck. Enjoy!