How Does Ohio’s Medical Malpractice Damages Cap Work?

October 16, 2015

Note: This is the fourth post in our “How Does It Work?” series intended to elucidate commonly heard legal terms and concepts for non-lawyers.  Feel free to read our earlier posts here, here, and here.

What Are Damage Caps?

Currently, 70% of all states cap the amount of damages recoverable in a medical malpractice case.  But what are damage caps?

Damage caps are limits on the amount of damages, i.e., money, that a plaintiff can receive as compensation for his or her injuries in a civil case.  These caps apply to damages award as the result of a successful lawsuit, not to damages obtained through a settlement.  As a practical matter, however, damage caps also affect settlement amounts because defense attorneys consider damage caps when evaluating risk and negotiating settlements.

Damage Caps in Ohio Medical Malpractice Cases

Ohio Revised Code Section 2323.43, which applies specifically medical malpractice claims, distinguishes between economic and noneconomic losses. 

In a medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff is not limited in the amount of compensation that he may be awarded for economic losses—medical bills, lost wages, and other expenditures incurred as the result of the plaintiff’s injury. 

Unlike economic losses, noneconomic losses are limited by Ohio’s damage cap.  Non-economic losses are intangible damages—things like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and mental anguish.  Damage awards for noneconomic losses are subject to several limitations:

  • A noneconomic damage award cannot be more than either 1) $250,000 or 2) triple the economic loss, whichever is greater
  • If 2) above is greater than 1), an additional damage cap limits damages for noneconomic loss to $350,000 per patient and $500,000 per occurrence. These additional caps may be raised to $500,000 and $1,000,000, respectively, in cases where the plaintiff or plaintiffs suffered certain injuries described in the statute
  • Though not specific to medical malpractice actions, Ohio’s punitive damages cap may also apply to an Ohio medical malpractice lawsuit.

Ohio Medical Malpractice Injury Victims Have a Right to Seek Compensation for Their Injuries

If you or a loved one were injured as the result of medical or surgical malpractice, call 855-783-9247 to speak to an experienced Ohio medical malpractice attorney at Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA.

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