Is there a cap on medical malpractice damages in New Jersey?
There is currently no overall cap on compensatory (economic or non-economic) damages in medical malpractice cases in New Jersey. But in any injury case, punitive damages are limited to $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater. This law is codified at New Jersey Statutes section 2A:15-5.14.
Keep in mind that punitive damages are pretty rare in a medical malpractice lawsuit, and in New Jersey they require proof that the defendant acted with “actual malice” or a “wanton and willful disregard” of whether or not someone would be harmed or injured.
Something to keep an eye on: In the 2012-2013 New Jersey Assembly session, a bill (New Jersey Assembly No. A-966) was introduced that would cap non-economic damages at $250,000 in medical malpractice cases. Non-economic damages include compensation for things like the plaintiff’s pain and suffering , loss of enjoyment of life, stress, anxiety, and other effects of the defendant’s medical negligence. About half of U.S. states have placed a cap on these kinds of damages in med mal cases, and New Jersey may follow suit, so stay tuned.
Learn more about damages in medical malpractice cases.
by: David Goguen, J.D.