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 malpractice.
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 dollar amount.
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.