Does Hawaii have a cap on damages in medical malpractice cases?
Yes. Hawaii, like a number of states, has passed a law that limits or “caps” certain kinds of compensation in a medical malpractice case. Also like most states, Hawaii’s cap applies only to non-economic damages like pain and suffering, scarring, loss of enjoyment of life, and other more subject and tough-to-quantify losses that were caused by the defendant’s medical malpractice.
Hawaii Revised Statutes section 663-8.7 limits pain and suffering damages to $375,000 in almost any kind of personal injury (tort) case in Hawaii, including medical malpractice lawsuits.
So, even if a jury in Hawaii found a doctor liable for malpractice and awarded an injured patient $1.5 million as compensation for pain and suffering, this law would kick in to reduce that award to $375,000.
But remember, Hawaii’s medical malpractice damages cap does not apply to economic losses stemming from the malpractice. So there is no limit on an injured patient’s ability to get compensation for past and future medical treatment, lost income, diminished earning capacity, and any other calculable financial losses.
by: David Goguen, J.D.