Is there a cap on medical malpractice damages in Kansas?
Yes. Like a lot of states, Kansas has a law on the books that limits or “caps” damages that are available to plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Kansas places a limit on non-economic damages for each plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit, regardless of how many defendants there are in the case. The precise amount of the cap depends on when the lawsuit "accrued," -- in the context of a medical malpractice case, that usually means the date of the underlying medical error.
Here's the breakdown of the damages cap, which is set out at Kansas Statutes section 60-19a02:
Non-economic damages include compensation for the more subjective effects of the malpractice, including:
The practical effect of these caps is that, even when a plaintiff has made a successful case and a Kansas jury finds that a doctor or other health care provider was negligent, this cap limits the amount of non-economic damages that the plaintiff can receive. So, now you’re probably wondering, what are non-economic damages? They are damages that aren’t easy to capture with a dollar figure, and they are usually pretty subjective from plaintiff to plaintiff. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, anxiety, stress, loss of enjoyment, scarring, and other negative effects of the medical malpractice and the extra medical treatment made necessary by it.
It’s important to note here that Kansas’s medical malpractice damages cap does not apply to the other main category of compensation available to a med mal plaintiff: economic damages. This includes payment of past medical bills and all ongoing future medical care, reimbursement of lost income, and compensation for diminished inability to earn a living. These kinds of damages are uncapped in Kansas, except that any jury verdict for "future economic losses" must specifically spell out the time period over which payment for such losses will be necessary, according to Kansas Statutes section 60-3408. Get more information on Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases.
by: David Goguen, J.D.