Medical Malpractice Caps

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What Are Medical Malpractice Caps?

Medical malpractice caps are limits on the amount of money that can be recovered from a successful medical malpractice lawsuit. The majority of these caps apply only to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, but a few states limit all types of damages in medical malpractice cases.

Recent court decisions have had an effect on how Georgia’s caps are enforced, which is significant given the contentious nature of medical malpractice caps in general.

What Is Georgia's Medical Malpractice Cap Law?

In the state of Georgia, certain categories of monetary damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits are subject to a statutory limit known as a “cap.” Even after a jury has decided that the healthcare provider is responsible for malpractice and the plaintiff is awarded a specific amount,

Georgia law adds a medical malpractice cap that limits the actual amount that the patient ends up receiving. This occurs even after the jury has determined that the healthcare provider is liable for malpractice.

Medical malpractice caps in the state of Georgia, like those in many other states, apply only to non-economic damages brought about by the negligence of healthcare providers. The following are examples of possible types of non-economic damages:

  • Pain and Suffering
  • Mental Anguish
  • Loss of Life Enjoyment
  • Anxiety or Depression
  • Loss of Companionship
  • Permanent Scarring

Although they are difficult to quantify, the following types of non-economic damages have a significant impact on the patient’s life:

  • In Georgia, the monetary limit for non-economic damages in claims against a single healthcare facility is $350,000.
  • If more than one facility is found liable in a medical malpractice case, the cap is raised to $700,000.
  • Regardless of how many facilities are found liable, the overall cap for a single medical malpractice case is $1.05 million.

However, in 2010, the Georgia Supreme Court found Georgia’s cap on non-economic damages to be unconstitutional; consequently, medical malpractice lawsuits filed after that year may not follow this cap at all. In addition, regardless of the caps placed on non-economic damages, there is absolutely no limit placed on the amount of economic damages that a patient can receive in cases involving Georgia medical malpractice.

Damages to the patient’s finances consist of the amount of compensation they are eligible to receive for losses such as:

  • Medical Care 
  • Future Medical Costs
  • Medications
  • Lost Wages
  • Loss of Future Earning Capacity 
  • Any Other Economic Damages That Resulted From the Malpractice

Lawsuits alleging medical malpractice are typically extremely difficult and intricate, and there are numerous strict guidelines that dictate what makes for a legitimate claim. It is critical for any patient who has been injured to collaborate with a seasoned personal injury attorney who is familiar with the litigation process surrounding medical malpractice lawsuits and the operation of caps.

The Statute of Limitations for Lawsuits Involving Medical Malpractice

If you live in Georgia and want to sue someone for medical malpractice, you need to be aware of Georgia’s stringent statute of limitations, which dictates how much time passes from the moment you initiate legal action until the case is heard in court.

In accordance with the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, a claim for medical malpractice must be filed within two years of the date on which the patient suffered an injury or passed away as a result of medical negligence. In situations in which the patient may not experience any harm immediately after the occurrence of the malpractice, they have five years from the medical incident. For example, this is true if a patient passes away many years after receiving treatment.

There is one exception to this rule: if a “foreign object” was left in a patient’s body, the medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within one year of the date that the patient realized they had been the victim of medical malpractice.

It may appear that this is a significant amount of time, but cases involving medical malpractice are extremely complicated and require a significant amount of time to compile evidence and other information related to the malpractice. Because of this, anyone who is interested in pursuing legal action for medical negligence should get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible.

If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you should seek the assistance of legal counsel so that you can protect your rights.

The Brown Firm specializes in representing victims of medical malpractice. Contact us to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your claim and figure out how to best assist with the recovery of your losses. 

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