Medical Malpractice Caps In The United States: What States Have Them, What States Have Rejected Them?


Medical malpractice caps have been in the news a lot with the attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the federal bill to cap medical malpractice caps to allegedly “save” money on health insurance.  Even though medical malpractice lawsuits account for about 2.4% of all healthcare costs, with about 1% being settlements or verdicts and 1.4% being the defense of those actions which will still and always be there.  And more studies that of the 1% that receive compensation, overwhelmingly almost all of them desire it and have merit.  Whereas some of those that don’t get compensation actually desire it and should be compensated but aren’t!

Yes, I think medical malpractice caps are horrible for victims.

But what states have them?  Here is a summary of states that have either medical malpractice caps or rejected them.  If a state is not listed, it is because they don’t have anything either way.

Alaska – $250,000 non-economic cap, wrongful death or disability considered disabling for more than 70% is $400,000;

Arizona – medical malpractice caps are unconstitutional!

California – non-economic medical malpractice cap of $250,000

Colorado – non-economic cap of $300,000 and total damages capped at $1 million

Florida – non-economic caps are $500,000 for practitioners and $750,000 for non-practitioners (hospitals); $1 million for permanent vegetative state or death.

Georgia – Punitive damages capped at $250,000.  Non-economic against providers capped at $350,000.  Additional $350,000 against each health care facility.  Total maximum for non-economic cap is $1,050,000;

Hawaii – non-economic damages $375,000 with exceptions for specific situations;

Idaho – non-economic damages are $250,000, adjusted for inflation, and does not apply to willful/reckless negligence or felonies;

Illinois – struck Supreme Court struck down in 2010!

Indiana – $1.25 mil cap if occurred after 1999, and the maximum a provider can be liable is $250,000 with the rest to be paid through the state’s Patient Compensation Fund.

Kansas – non-economic cap is $250,000;

Louisiana – $500k total and healthcare providers can only be liable for $100,000 with the remaining to be paid by the patient compensation fund;

Maine – non-economic cap on wrongful death is $500,000;

Maryland – non-economic cap of $740k as of 2015 to increase $15,000 annually which applies to all claims and to all defendants from the same injury as to only one plaintiff.  Additional plaintiff gets 125% increase of cap;

Massachusetts – non-economic cap of $500,000 with exception to catastrophic injuries;

Michigan – non-economic cap as of 2015 is $444,900 or $794,500 for catastrophic/disabling injures and it adjusted annually for inflation;

Mississippi – non-economic cap is $500,000 per plaintiff;

Missouri – non-economic medical malpractice cap ruled unconstitutional in 2012!

Montana – non-economic cap is $250,000;

Nebraska – total cap of $2.25 expect $500,000 for those qualifying entities under the Hospital-Medical Liability Act;

Nevada – non-economic cap of $350,000 with limited exceptions;

New Jersey – punitive damage is capped at greater of $350,000 or 5x the compensatory damages awarded;

New Mexico – total $600k except for past/future medical bills and punitive damages.  Max provider liability is $200,000 with the rest to be paid by the compensation fund;

New York – NONE!

North Carolina – non-economic cap of $500k;

North Dakota – non-economic cap of $500,000, however any away above $250,000 may be reviewed by a judge for adjustment;

Ohio – greater of non-economic damages of $250,000 or 3x economic damages up to $350,000 per plaintiff.  Total cap of $500k for multiple plaintiffs.  In catastrophic cases, $500,000 or $1 mil;

Oklahoma – non-economic cap of $350k for OB/ER cases if there’s an offer or judgment;

Oregon – non-economic cap of $500k for wrongful death cases, but other non-economic caps are unconstitutional!

Pennsylvania – punitive damages are capped at 2x the actual damages.  There is a PA Constitutional prohibition on caps of economic damages;

South Carolina – punitive damages are $350,000 or 3x the compensatory damages, non-economic damages are capped at $350k and adjusted annually for inflation with a total claim with multiple providers capped at $1,050,000.

South Dakota – non-economic damages is $500k;

Texas – non-economic damages are $250k against physicians or providers, and an additional $250,000 against each healthcare institution;

Utah – non-economic cap of $450k;

Virginia – total damages cap of $2 million for acts occurring after July 2008;

West Virginia – non-economic cap is $250,000 adjusted for inflation annually with an absolute maximum of $375k.  In catastrophic cases it is $500k adjusted annually up to a max of $750l;

Wisconsin – non-economic cap of $750k for medical negligence and $500k for wrongful death cases against minors and $350k against adults; and

Wyoming – Constitutionally prohibited!