Does Georgia cap damages in medical malpractice cases?
Yes. Like dozens of other states, Georgia has a number of laws that limit or “cap” medical malpractice damages available to a plaintiff who has been successful in a tort lawsuit against a doctor or other health care professional.
Like most states, Georgia’s medical malpractice damage caps apply only to non-economic damages. That includes compensation for pain and suffering, anxiety, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, lost companionship, scarring, and similar difficult-to-quantify losses caused by the defendant’s malpractice.
Georgia has a $350,000 cap in place on non-economic damages in any single medical malpractice claim against health care providers. For claims against a single health care facility there is a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages, which bumps up to $700,000 if more than one facility is deemed liable. For any single medical malpractice case, there is an overall $1.05 million cap on non-economic damages.
[Editor’s note: In 2010, Georgia’s cap on non-economic damages was deemed unconstitutional by the Georgia Supreme Court, so the application of this law is very much in doubt when it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Georgia after 2010.]
Keep in mind that, although Georgia’s damages caps for medical malpractice cases are a little complicated, one thing is clear: these caps have no effect on a med mal plaintiff’s economic damages. Put another way, there is no limit on how much compensation a medical malpractice plaintiff can receive for things like medical care (past and future) necessitated by the malpractice, lost earnings, lost future earning capacity, and any other economic losses attributable to the defendant’s malpractice.
by: David Goguen, J.D.