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 losses.
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 Malpractice Claims.
by: David Goguen, J.D.