Is there a cap on medical malpractice damages in Michigan?
Yes. Like many states, Michigan “caps” or limits the amount of damages that are available to a plaintiff who has been successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Michigan’s cap is a little more complex than most states’.
According to Michigan Compiled Laws section 600.1483, there is a cap on non-economic damages available in all medical malpractice lawsuits. Non-economic damages include compensation for the medical malpractice plaintiff’s pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, stress, anxiety, and other effects of the defendant’s medical negligence.
In Michigan, the non-economic damages cap is increased up to a certain amount if:
1) the plaintiff is rendered hemiplegic, paraplegic, or quadriplegic because of the malpractice, and has suffered a total permanent functional loss of a limb because of injury to the brain or spinal cord, or
2) the malpractice has left the plaintiff with a permanently impaired cognitive capacity and rendered him or her incapable of making independent, responsible life decisions, and permanently incapable of independently performing the activities of normal daily life, or
(3) the malpractice has caused permanent loss of or damage to a reproductive organ resulting in the plaintiff’s inability to procreate.
Since 1994, the caps have been reviewed at the end of each calendar year and adjusted according to the consumer price index. As of January 2017, the standard cap is $445,500 for "pain and suffering" and other non-economic damages in most kinds of malpractice cases, but it jumps to $795,500 for those malpractice cases described in the numbered list above, involving more significant or longer-lasting harm to the patient.
Remember that Michigan places no cap on the other main category of damages available to a medical malpractice plaintiff, economic damages, which includes compensation for past medical expenses, ongoing medical care, lost income, harm to the plaintiff’s ability to earn a living, and any other measurable financial losses. Learn more about damages in a medical malpractice case.
by: David Goguen, J.D.