Does Alaska have a cap on medical malpractice damages?
Yes. Like the majority of states in the U.S., Alaska has
passed laws that limit or “cap” the amount of compensation a medical
malpractice plaintiff can receive after a successful lawsuit -- one in
which the defendant (the plaintiff’s doctor or other care provider) has been
found liable for medical negligence.
It’s important to note at the outset that Alaska’s medical
malpractice damages caps don’t apply to your economic losses stemming from the
malpractice. So, you can get compensation for your past and future medical
care, your lost income to date, and any measurable reduction on your ability to
work and earn a living in the future due to the malpractice (as well as any
other damages that can be captured by a dollar amount).
So, when do these damage caps apply? In Alaska, there is a
$250,000 cap on non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case. The cap
bumps up to $400,000 for non-economic damages in med mal cases involving wrongful death or “severe
permanent physical impairment” that is over 70 percent debilitating.
Your next question is probably, "What are non-economic damages?" They include compensation for a medical
malpractice plaintiff’s pain and suffering, anxiety, fear, lost enjoyment of
life, disfigurement, scarring, and other negative effects of their injuries and
additional medical treatment made necessary by the defendant’s malpractice. You
can learn more in our article Damages
in Medical Malpractice Cases.
by: David Goguen, J.D.