Is there a cap on medical malpractice damages in New Jersey?

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Question:

Is there a cap on medical malpractice damages in New Jersey?

Answer:

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: , J.D.

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