The State of Georgia statutes still have a limit on how much money you can recover for your non-economic damages in a successful medical malpractice case, even though the Georgia Supreme Court declared this cap unconstitutional nearly a decade ago.
There is no legislative cap, however, on the amount you can win for your economic losses in medical malpractice cases. Experts disagree on whether the law limiting non-economic damages is enforceable.
What the Unconstitutional Statute Says About Recovering Non-Economic Damages
The statute in question places a limit on the amount of money a successful medical malpractice plaintiff can recover, no matter how devasting the harm he suffered or if the medical malpractice resulted in wrongful death. These limits are outlined as follows:
- No more than $350,000 total from all the doctors and other healthcare providers in the lawsuit – whether there is only one defendant or a dozen;
- No more than $350,000 total from a medical facility and everyone who might have vicarious liability, with a cap of $700,000 total from all the medical facilities – whether there was only one defendant or a dozen;
- No more than $1,050,000 total from all defendants in the lawsuit – including all medical facilities, doctors, healthcare providers, and persons who may have harmed or killed the plaintiff.
The Difference Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Since the Georgia statutes do not place a limit on the amount of economic damages a plaintiff can get in a successful medical malpractice action, you need to know the difference between economic and non-economic damages.
These include medical bills, lost income, ongoing medical care and assistance, decreased earning capacity, home and vehicle modifications, long-term care, equipment, supplies, and other financial losses you sustained as a result of the medical malpractice.
Georgia law does not limit the amount you can recover for these damages, but they must be reasonable and related to the harm.
These types of damages include the harm you experience because of the medical malpractice, but that did not cost you out-of-pocket. For example, the mental anguish, distress, physical pain, and suffering you endured are non-economic damages.
Other examples include disfigurement, disability, physical impairment, inconvenience, hardship, and loss of enjoyment of life. Your loved ones might have claims for non-economic damages like loss of consortium, companionship, and society.
If you have questions about your medical malpractice case, our dedicated legal team can help. Contact us today at 404-842-7838.
Georgia Law Does Not Limit Non-Economic Damages in Other Personal Injury Lawsuits
One of the reasons the Georgia Supreme Court struck down the statutory cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases is that there is not a similar limit on non-economic damages in other types of personal injury suits. In all other negligence actions, the defendant must pay the amount of non-economic damages that the jury feels is appropriate.
The Court also said that the legislature does not have the authority to tell juries how much money they can award to successful plaintiffs. The statute is unconstitutional because it usurps the jury’s right to award the amount of damages it sees fit, and thus the law illegally blocks plaintiffs from their right to a trial by jury.
The facts in every case are different, so S. Burke Law can explain your economic and non-economic damages. Give us a call at 404-842-7838 to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.