Does Utah law limit damages in medical malpractice cases?
Yes. Like most U.S. states,
Utah has a law on the books that limits or “caps” the amount of compensation a
plaintiff can receive in a medical
malpractice case. The controversial impact of laws like this is that, even
where a plaintiff proves that the defendant committed malpractice -- and a jury
reaches the same conclusion -- the actual amount of damages the plaintiff can
be awarded is limited.
Also like most states, Utah’s
cap applies only to non-economic damages, limiting those to $450,000 for any medical malpractice
case arising after May 15, 2010. You can find the full text of this law at Utah Code section 78B-3-410.
So, what are these
all-important “non-economic damages”? In any injury case, non-economic damages include
compensation for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss
of enjoyment of life. Non-economic damages are said to be more “subjective” from
plaintiff to plaintiff, and they’re not so easy to capture with a dollar
Remember that Utah does not cap economic damages, which typically consist of payment for past and
future medical care, reimbursement of lost income, compensation for lost
earning capacity, and other financial losses that can be attributed to the malpractice
on which the lawsuit is based.
Learn more: Medical
by: David Goguen, J.D.