Is there a cap on damages in Wisconsin medical malpractice cases?
Yes. Like many states, Wisconsin
has a statute on the books that places a limit or “cap” on 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 establishes the defendant’s liability for malpractice, there is
a limit on the actual amount of damages the jury can award, regardless of the
plaintiff’s specific losses.
Wisconsin lawmakers have put
a $750,000 per-occurrence cap on
non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. For the details, check out Wisconsin
Stat. section 893.55.
So, what are “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 Wisconsin does not cap economic damages in medical
malpractice cases. Economic (sometimes
called “special”) damages 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 defendant’s malpractice.
It’s worth noting that an
earlier Wisconsin law that capped non-economic damages in medical malpractice
cases was overturned as unconstitutional. And there are a few challenges to the
current version of the law making their way through Wisconsin’s court system,
so stay tuned.
Learn more about Medical
by: David Goguen, J.D.