State Limits on Damage Awards

Each state has different limits regarding damage awards for medical malpractice claims. The expert opinion of a competent medical malpractice lawyer regarding the applicable limits on damage awards regarding your potential medical malpractice claim should be promptly obtained.

The following listing and information regarding limits on damage awards by state are for general information purposes only. This list is not legal advice and may not be current or accurate at the time you view this page. Many state laws are revised or changed from time to time (including limits on damage awards). Do not rely on the information below with regard to limits on damage awards that may apply to your claim. Seek competent legal advice with regard to limits on damage awards that may apply to your state and/or to your claim. Different limits on damage awards may apply (such as federal limitations involving federal health care providers).

State

Limitations on Damages

Reference

Alabama

No limitations.

Limits on noneconomic damages (Section 6-5-547) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Mobile Infirmary Medical Center v. Hodgen, 884 So.2d (Ala. 2003)).

Alaska

Noneconomic damages limited to $250,000; limited to $400,000 for wrongful death or injury over 70 percent disabling; limits not applicable to intentional or reckless acts or omissions.

Section 09.55.549

Arizona

No limitations.

Arizona Constitution Article 2, Section 31: No law shall be enacted in this state limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the death or injury of any person.

Arkansas

Punitive damages award for each plaintiff shall not be more than the greater of the following: (1) $250,000; or (2) Three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded in the action, not to exceed $1 million. Limits adjusted for inflation at three-year intervals. Limits shall not apply when the finder of fact: (1) Determines by clear and convincing evidence that, at the time of the injury, the defendant intentionally pursued a course of conduct for the purpose of causing injury or damage; and (2) Determines that the defendant's conduct did, in fact, harm the plaintiff.

Section 16-55-205 to Section 16-55-209.

California

$250,000 limit for noneconomic damages

Civil Code Section 3333.2.

Colorado

$1 million total limit on all damages; $300,000 noneconomic limitation.

Section 13-64-302.

Connecticut

If the jury renders a verdict specifying noneconomic damages in an amount exceeding $1 million, the court shall review the evidence presented to the jury to determine if the amount of noneconomic damages specified in the verdict is excessive as a matter of law in that it so shocks the sense of justice as to compel the conclusion that the jury was influenced by partiality, prejudice, mistake or corruption. If the court so concludes, it shall order a remittitur and, upon failure of the party so ordered to remit the amount ordered by the court, it shall set aside the verdict and order a new trial.

Section 52-228c.

Delaware

Punitive damages may be awarded only on finding of malicious intent to injure or willful or wanton misconduct. No specified limit.

18 Section 6855.

District of Columbia (D.C.)

No limitations.

No applicable statute.

Florida

Noneconomic damages limited to $500,000 per claimant. Noneconomic damages shall not exceed $1 million for cases involving death or permanent vegetative state, or 1) a manifest injustice would occur unless increased noneconomic damages are awarded, based on a finding that because of the special circumstances of the case, the noneconomic harm sustained by the injured patient was particularly severe; and 2) The trier of fact determines that the defendant's negligence caused a catastrophic injury to the patient. Noneconomic damages limited to $150,000 per claimant for cases arising from medical negligence of practitioners providing emergency services and care, the total noneconomic damages recoverable by all claimants from all such practitioners shall not exceed $300,000.

Section 766.118.

Georgia

No limitations.

Limits on noneconomic damages (Section 51-13-1) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, P.C. v. Nestlehutt et al., (Ga. March 22, 2010)).

Hawaii

Noneconomic damages recoverable for pain and suffering shall be limited to a maximum award of $375,000.

Section 663-8.7.

Idaho

$250,000 limit on noneconomic damages, adjusted annually according to state's average annual wage.

Section 6-1603.

Illinois

Punitive damages not recoverable in medical malpractice cases.
No limitations. Limits on noneconomic damages (Section 6-5-547) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see LeBron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, (Ill. February 4, 2010)).

735 Section 5/2-1115.
Section 6-5-547.

Indiana

The total amount recoverable may not exceed $500,000. A health care provider is not liable for an amount in excess of $250,000 for an occurrence of malpractice.

Section 34-18-14-3.

Iowa

In an action for damages the damages awarded shall not include actual economic losses incurred or to be incurred in the future by the claimant by reason of the personal injury, including but not limited to, the cost of reasonable and necessary medical care, rehabilitation services, and custodial care, and the loss of services and loss of earned income, to the extent that those losses are replaced or are indemnified by insurance, or by governmental, employment, or service benefit programs or from any other source except the assets of the claimant or of the members of the claimant's immediate family.

Section 147.136.

Kansas

$250,000 limit on noneconomic damages for personal injury recoverable by each party from all defendants.
Wrongful death damages, other than pecuniary loss sustained by an heir at law, cannot exceed in the aggregate the sum of $250,000 and costs.

Section 60-19a02.
Section 16-1903.

Kentucky

No limitations.

Kentucky Constitution Section 54: The General Assembly shall have no power to limit the amount to be recovered for injuries resulting in death, or for injuries to person or property.

Louisiana

$500,000 limit for total recovery. Health care provider liability limited to $100,000. Any award in excess of all liable providers paid from Patient's Compensation Fund.

RS Section 40:1299.42.

Maine

No limitations.

No applicable statute.

Maryland

Noneconomic damages for a cause of action arising between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, inclusive, may not exceed $650,000. The limitation on noneconomic damages shall increase by $15,000 on January 1 of each year beginning January 1, 2009. The increased amount shall apply to causes of action arising between January 1 and December 31 of that year, inclusive. In a wrongful death action, where there are two or more claimants or beneficiaries, the noneconomic damages for all actions may not exceed 125 percent of the above limitation.

Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article Section -2A-09(A).

Massachusetts

$500,000 limit for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, embarrassment and other items of general damages unless there is a determination that there is a substantial or permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function or substantial disfigurement, or other special circumstances. Except as provided, if two or more plaintiffs have received verdicts or findings of such damages in a total amount, for all plaintiffs claiming damages from a single occurrence, transaction, act of malpractice, or injury which exceeds $500,000, the amount of such damages recoverable by each plaintiff will be reduced to a percentage of $500,000 proportionate to that plaintiff's share of the total amount of such damages for all plaintiffs.

Ch. 231 Section 60H.

Michigan

$280,000 limit on noneconomic damages; $500,000 limit on noneconomic damages if (a) The plaintiff is hemiplegic, paraplegic, or quadriplegic resulting in a total permanent functional loss of one or more limbs caused by one or more of the following: (i) Injury to the brain. (ii) Injury to the spinal cord. (b) The plaintiff has permanently impaired cognitive capacity rendering him or her incapable of making independent, responsible life decisions and permanently incapable of independently performing the activities of normal, daily living. (c) There has been permanent loss of or damage to a reproductive organ resulting in the inability to procreate. The limitation is adjusted annually by state treasurer according to consumer price index.

Section 600.1483.

Minnesota

Punitive damages shall be allowed in civil actions only upon clear and convincing evidence that the acts of the defendant show deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others. The court shall specifically review the punitive damages award and shall make specific findings. The appellate court, if any, also shall review the award. Nothing in this section may be construed to restrict either court's authority to limit punitive damages.

Section 549.20.

Mississippi

$500,000 limit on noneconomic damages.

Section 11-1-60.

Missouri

Noneconomic damages limited to $350,000 regardless of number of defendants.
No award of punitive damages against any defendant shall exceed the greater of: (1) $500,000; or (2) Five times the net amount of the judgment awarded to the plaintiff against the defendant.

Section 538.210.
Section 510.265.

Montana

$250,000 limit on past and future damages for noneconomic loss.
A judge or jury may award, in addition to compensatory damages, punitive damages for the sake of example and for the purpose of punishing a defendant. An award for punitive damages may not exceed $10 million or three percent of a defendant's net worth, whichever is less.

Section 25-9-411.
Section 27-1-220.

Nebraska

Total damages limited to $1,750,000. Health care provider liability limited to $500,000. Any excess of total liability of all health care providers paid from Excess Liability Fund.

Section 44-2825.

Nevada

$350,000 limit on noneconomic damages.
Exemplary or punitive damages made pursuant to this section may not exceed: (a) Three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff if the amount of compensatory damages is $100,000 or more; or (b) $300,000 if the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff is less than $100,000.

Section 41A.035.
Section 42.005.

New Hampshire

No limitations.

Limits on noneconomic damages (Section 507-C:7) declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Carson v. Maurer, 120 N.H. 925, 424 A.2d 825 (1980) and Brannigan v. Usitalso, 134 N.H. 50, 587 A.2d 1232 (1991)).

New Jersey

No defendant shall be liable for punitive damages in any action in an amount in excess of five times the liability of that defendant for compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is greater.

Section 2A:15-5.14.

New Mexico

$600,000 total limit on all damages. The value of accrued medical care and related benefits shall not be subject to the $600,000 limitation. Monetary damages shall not be awarded for future medical expenses in malpractice claims. A health care provider's personal liability is limited to $200,000 for monetary damages and medical care and related benefits as provided in Section 41-5-7 NMSA 1978. Any amount due from a judgment or settlement in excess of $200,000 shall be paid from the patient's compensation fund.
Awards of future medical care and related benefits shall not be subject to the $600,000 limitation imposed in Section 41-5-6.

Section 41-5-6.
Section 41-5-7.

New York

No limitations.

No applicable statute.

North Carolina

Punitive damages shall not exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.
For cases filed on or after October 1, 2011, the total amount of non-economic damages for which judgment is entered against all defendants shall not exceed five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000).

1D-25.


Section 90-21.19.

North Dakota

$500,000 limit on noneconomic damages.
Economic damage awards in excess of $250,000 subject to court review.

Section 32-42-02.
Section 32-03.2-08.

Ohio

Punitive and exemplary damages limited to twice the amount of compensatory damages. If the defendant is a small employer or individual, the court shall not enter judgment for punitive or exemplary damages in excess of the lesser of two times the amount of the compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff from the defendant or 10 percent of the employer's or individual's net worth when the tort was committed up to a maximum of $350,000.
No limitation on compensatory damages that represent the economic loss of the person who is awarded the damages in the civil action. Noneconomic damages shall not exceed the greater of $250,000 or an amount that is equal to three times the plaintiff's economic loss, as determined by the trier of fact, to a maximum of $350,000 for each plaintiff or a maximum of $500,000 for each occurrence. Noneconomic damages may exceed the amount described above but shall not exceed $500,000 for each plaintiff or $1 million for each occurrence if the noneconomic losses of the plaintiff are for either of the following: (a) Permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system; (b) Permanent physical functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for self and perform life sustaining activities.

Section 2315.21.
Section 2323.43.

Oklahoma

Where the jury finds by clear and convincing evidence that: The defendant has been guilty of reckless disregard for the rights of others; the jury, may award punitive damages in an amount not to exceed the greater of: a. $100,000, or b. the amount of the actual damages awarded. Where the jury finds by clear and convincing evidence that: The defendant has acted intentionally and with malice towards others; the jury may award punitive damages in an amount not to exceed the greatest of: a. $500,000, b. twice the amount of actual damages awarded, or c. the increased financial benefit derived by the defendant as a direct result of the conduct causing the injury to the plaintiff and other persons or entities. Where the jury finds by clear and convincing evidence that: The defendant has acted intentionally and with malice towards others; and the court finds that there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted intentionally and with malice and engaged in conduct life-threatening to humans, the jury, may award punitive damages in any amount the jury deems appropriate, without regard to the limitations set forth above.
No limitation on the amount of noneconomic damages in a civil action arising from a claimed bodily injury resulting from professional negligence against a physician if the judge and jury finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that: 1. The plaintiff or injured person has suffered permanent and substantial physical abnormality or disfigurement, loss of use of a limb, or loss of, or substantial impairment to, a major body organ or system; or 2. The plaintiff or injured person has suffered permanent physical functional injury which prevents them from being able to independently care for themselves and perform life sustaining activities; or 3. The defendant's acts or failures to act were: a. in reckless disregard for the rights of others, b. grossly negligent, c. fraudulent, or d. intentional or with malice.
Except as provided, noneconomic damages awarded shall not exceed the hard cap amount of $300,000, provided: 1. The defendant has made an offer of judgment pursuant to 1101.1 of Title 12 of the Oklahoma Statutes; and 2. The amount of the verdict awarded to the plaintiff is less than 1 1/2 times the amount of the final offer of judgment. The $300,000 cap shall be adjusted annually based upon any positive increase in the Consumer Price Index. If nine or more members of the jury find by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant committed negligence or if nine or more members of the jury find by a preponderance of the evidence that the conduct of the defendant was willful or wanton, the limits on noneconomic damages provided above shall not apply.
In a medical liability action in which the health care services at issue were provided for: 1. Pregnancy or labor and delivery, including the immediate post-partum period; or 2. Emergency care in the emergency room of a hospital or as follow-up to the emergency care services provided in the emergency room; the amount of noneconomic damages awarded shall not exceed $300,000. Where the judge finds by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant committed negligence in one of these types of cases, the court shall articulate its findings into the record out of the presence of the jury and shall lift the noneconomic damage cap.

23 Section 9.1.
23 Section 61.2.
63 Section 1-1708.1F-1.
63 Section 1-1708.1F.

Oregon

No limitations.
Section 31.740. Punitive damages may not be awarded against a health practitioner, as defined, if the health practitioner was engaged in conduct regulated by the license, registration or certificate issued by the appropriate governing body and was acting within the scope of practice for which the license, registration or certificate was issued and without malice.

Limits on noneconomic damages (Section 31.710) declared unconstitutional by State Supreme Court (see Lakin v. Senco Products, Inc., 329 Or. 62, 987 P.2d 463 (Or. 1999)).

Pennsylvania

No limitations. Pennsylvania Constitution Article 3, Section 18: The General Assembly may enact laws requiring the payment by employers, or employers and employees jointly, of reasonable compensation for injuries to employees arising in the course of their employment, and for occupational diseases of employees, whether or not such injuries or diseases result in death, and regardless of fault of employer or employee, and fixing the basis of ascertainment of such compensation and the maximum and minimum limits thereof, and providing special or general remedies for the collection thereof; but in no other cases shall the General Assembly limit the amount to be recovered for injuries resulting in death, or for injuries to persons or property, and in case of death from such injuries, the right of action shall survive, and the General Assembly shall prescribe for whose benefit such actions shall be prosecuted.
Except in cases alleging intentional misconduct, punitive damages against an individual physician shall not exceed 200 percent of the compensatory damages awarded. Punitive damages, when awarded, shall not be less than $100,000 unless a lower verdict amount is returned by the trier of fact. Upon the entry of a verdict including an award of punitive damages, the punitive damages portion of the award shall be allocated as follows: (1) 75 percent shall be paid to the prevailing party; and (2) 25 percent shall be paid to the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund.
The trier of fact may incorporate into any future medical expense award adjustments to account for reasonably anticipated inflation and medical care improvements as presented by competent evidence.

40 Section 1303.505.
40 Section 1303.509.

Rhode Island

No limitations.

No applicable statute.

South Carolina

Noneconomic damages limited to $350,000 against single health care provider or facility. In actions against more than one facility, provider or combination, the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages for each health care institution and each health care provider is limited to an amount not to exceed $350,000 for each claimant, and the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages for all health care institutions and health care providers is limited to an amount not to exceed $1,050,000 for each claimant. Limits increased or decreased annually based on Consumer Price Index. No limits on noneconomic or punitive damages if defendant is grossly negligent, wilful, wanton, or reckless, and such conduct was the proximate cause of the claimant's noneconomic damages, or if the defendant has engaged in fraud or misrepresentation related to the claim, or if the defendant altered or destroyed medical records with the purpose of avoiding a claim or liability to the claimant.

Section 15-32-220.

South Dakota

The total general damages which may be awarded may not exceed the sum of $500,000. No limitation on the amount of special damages which may be awarded.
Punitive damages in discretion of jury.

Section 21-3-11.
Section 21-3-2.

Tennessee

No limitations.

No applicable statute.

Texas

$250,000 limit per claimant for noneconomic damages against physician or provider. 250,000 limit per claimant against single institution. For claims against multiple institutions, the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages for each health care institution, inclusive of all persons and entities for which vicarious liability theories may apply, shall be limited to an amount not to exceed $250,000 for each claimant and the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages for all health care institutions, inclusive of all persons and entities for which vicarious liability theories may apply, shall be limited to an amount not to exceed $500,000 for each claimant.
In wrongful death claims against physician, the limit of civil liability for all damages, including exemplary damages, shall be limited to an amount not to exceed $500,000 for each claimant. The limitation will be adjusted by the Consumer Price Index.

Civil Practice & Remedies Section 74.301.
Civil Practice & Remedies Section 74.303.

Utah

For a cause of action arising on or after July 1, 2002, and before May 15, 2010 the $400,000 limitation described in Subsection (1)(b) shall be adjusted for inflation as provided in Subsection (2); and for a cause of action arising on or after May 15, 2010, $450,000.
Beginning July 1, 2002 and each July 1 thereafter until July 1, 2009, the limit for damages under Subsection (1)(c) shall be adjusted for inflation by the state treasurer. By July 15 of each year until July 1, 2009, the state treasurer shall: (i) certify the inflation-adjusted limit calculated under this Subsection (2); and (ii) inform the Administrative Office of the Courts of the certified limit. The amount resulting from Subsection (2)(a) shall: (i) be rounded to the nearest $10,000; and (ii) apply to a cause of action arising on or after the date the annual adjustment is made.
The limit under Subsection (1) does not apply to awards of punitive damages.

Section 78B-3-410.

Vermont

No limitations.

No applicable statute.

Virginia

$1.5 million limit on recovery damages. Increased by $50,000 each year from 2001 to 2006. Increased by $75,000 each year in 2007 and 2008. The July 1, 2008, increase shall be the final annual increase.

Section 8.01-581.15.

Washington

No limitations.

Limits on noneconomic damages (Section 4.56.250) declared unconstitutional by State Supreme Court (see Sofie v. Fireboard Corp., 112 Wash. 2d 636, 771 P.2d 711 (1989)).

West Virginia

$250,000 limit for noneconomic damages per occurrence. Plaintiff may recover compensatory damages for noneconomic loss in excess of the limitation above, but not in excess of $500,000 for each occurrence, where the damages for noneconomic losses suffered by the plaintiff were for: (1) Wrongful death; (2) permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb or loss of a bodily organ system; or (3) permanent physical or mental functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for himself or herself and perform life sustaining activities. Limits are adjusted annually for inflation by the Consumer Price Index.

Section 55-7B-8.

Wisconsin

No limitations.

Limits on noneconomic damages (Section 893.55) declared unconstitutional by State Supreme Court (see Ferdon ex rel. Petrucelli v. Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund, 701 N.W.2d 440 (2005)).

Wyoming

No limitations.

Wyoming Constitution Article 10, 4: (a) No law shall be enacted limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the injury or death of any person. (b) Any section of this constitution to the contrary notwithstanding, for any civil action where a person alleges that a health care provider's act or omission in the provision of health care resulted in death or injury, the legislature may by general law: (i) Mandate alternative dispute resolution or review by a medical review panel before the filing of a civil action against the health care provider.


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