Is there a cap on medical malpractice damages in Ohio?
Yes. Like lawmakers in a lot of
states, the Ohio legislature has passed a statute that places a limit or “cap” on
the amount of compensation that can be awarded to a plaintiff who has been
successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit. In other words, even after a jury holds a defendant liable
for malpractice, this law kicks in to cap the actual amount that the plaintiff will
end up getting.
First, it’s important to
understand the two main types of damages
in medical malpractice cases: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include payment
of past and future medical care, reimbursement of lost income, compensation for
lost earning capacity, and other financial losses stemming from the
Non-economic damages include
compensation for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the
loss of enjoyment of life that result from the defendant’s medical malpractice.
Non-economic damages are often described as more “subjective” because they tend
to vary from plaintiff to plaintiff, and they’re not so easy to capture with a
Ohio’s medical malpractice damages cap applies only to
non-economic damages. So, what does the law say? Under Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2323.43, non-economic
damages in a medical malpractice case can’t exceed
the greater of $250,000 or three times the plaintiff's economic damages -- with
an overall maximum of $350,000 per
plaintiff or $500,000 for each case (if there is more than one plaintiff).
The cap will be bumped up to
$500,000 per plaintiff or $1 million per case if the malpractice caused certain
permanent and/or catastrophic injuries.
by: David Goguen, J.D.