Is there a Virginia law that caps damages in medical malpractice cases?
Yes. Like dozens of other
states, Virginia has a statute that places a limit or “cap” on the amount of
compensation a plaintiff can receive in a medical
malpractice case. The controversial impact of laws like this is that, even
where a plaintiff establishes the defendant’s liability for malpractice -- and
a jury reaches the same judgment -- there is a limit on the actual amount of
damages the plaintiff can be awarded, regardless of the plaintiff’s specific claimed
Unlike most states, Virginia’s
cap applies to all varieties of damages in a medical malpractice case -- it does
not matter whether they are economic damages (medical bills, lost income, diminished
earning capacity) or non-economic damages (compensation for pain and suffering,
emotional distress, etc.). Learn more about Damages
in Medical Malpractice Cases.
Also unlike most states,
Virginia’s medical malpractice damages cap sets out a detailed and gradual
year-by-year raising of the total damages limit. Here’s a look at the current
state of the cap and the planned increases in coming years:
* for cases arising from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014: $2.10 million
* for cases arising from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015: $2.15 million
* for cases arising from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016: $2.20 million
* for cases arising from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017: $2.25 million
The cap is currently set to
stop increasing in 2031, when the limit will be $3 million. You can see the planned
year-by-year raising of the cap for all years -- for medical malpractice cases
arising from 1999 through 2030 -- by checking out the full text of the law at Virginia
Code section 8.01-581.15.
Learn more about Medical
by: David Goguen, J.D.