Wisconsin’s Medical Malpractice Cap Deemed Unconstitutional


An appellate court in Wisconsin has ruled that their cap on non-economic damages of $750,000.00 in medical malpractice claims is unconstitutional on its face.  One of the judges stated that the cap on non-economic damages ultimately reduces the damages only for the most severely injured victims who receive awards exceeding the cap while allowing full damages for the less severely injured victims.

This case involves a mother of four whose limbs were amputated after a Strep A infection went undetected, resulting in septic shock.  The damage that resulted from the infection led to the amputations.  The victim initially went to the hospital complaining of abdominal pain and had a high fever.  She was not informed that she could have a septic infection, or that the infection could be treated with antibiotics.  She was instead told she should follow up with her gynecologist for her history of uterine fibroids.  She went to a different hospital the next day.  The sepsis infection nearly cause of her organs to fail, which led to the gangrene in all four of her limbs, leading to their amputation.

The case will be appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  If the Supreme Court overturns the decision, ruling the cap on non-economic damages constitutional, the victim of the malpractice will not receive enough money from the non-economic award to cover the expenses incurred to bring the case and the attorney’s fees.  Therefore they would need to use the award for economic damages to pay for those costs.

Caps on medical malpractice non-economic damages discourage lawsuits.  They create roadblocks, making it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to find attorneys who are willing to represent the potential victims of medical malpractice.  A concurring opinion stated that in this case, the cap is unreasonable given how drastically the victim’s life has been altered.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com.  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.