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
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.