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.