Is there a limit on medical malpractice damages in North Dakota?
Yes. Just like a number of states, North Dakota places a limit or “cap” on the amount of compensation that is available 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 and awards a plaintiff a certain amount of damages, this law (fair or not) kicks in to cap the actual amount that the plaintiff will end up getting.
In North Dakota, there is a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. 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.
As for economic damages in medical malpractice cases in North Dakota -- which includes compensation for losses like past and future medical bills, lost income, lost earning capacity, and other financial harm -- there is no statutory limit, but any economic damages award over $250,000 may be challenged by the defendant and reviewed for reasonableness by the court. However, when such an award is challenged, the defendant has the burden of persuading the court that the dollar amount does not reasonably reflect the injured patient’s economic losses.
Learn more about damages in medical malpractice cases.
by: David Goguen, J.D.