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Woman's case challenges state's damage caps

Any medical or surgical error can wreak havoc to the lives of those that suffer from them. At the same time, not every medical malpractice case in Indianapolis is created equal. The hope is that those injured by mistakes by doctors and other practitioners are able to return to a similar state of health to that which they enjoyed before. The reward that may come from a medical malpractice lawsuit can certainly go a long way in ensuring that. There are, however, certain cases in which victims will never come close to completely recovering, and thus may require significant compensation to deal with both their medical costs and the change in their quality of life. 

Medical malpractice damage caps may prevent such victims from claiming sufficient compensation. That is the argument being made by the attorney (as well as several others) of a Wisconsin woman whose malpractice case resulted in the loss of her four outer limbs. A jury initially awarded her $25.3 million to compensate for her pain and suffering. Wisconsin law, however, caps the amount that one can earn from non-economic damages in malpractices cases at $750,000. 

The woman's case is currently being argued before the state's Supreme Court. Her supporters claim the damages cap unfairly punishes her and the relatively few others who experience significant injuries. Opponents, on the other hand, claim that eliminating the cap will drain the state's compensation fund and drive physicians out for having to pay inordinate malpractice insurance premiums. 

While the legality and fairness of malpractice damage caps is a question that deserves consideration, this case (more than anything) drives home the need for compensation that medical malpractice victims have. Those needing to seek such compensation may wish to work with a skilled personal injury attorney in doing so. 

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Should a woman who lost four limbs to malpractice collect more than $750,000 for her suffering?" Spivak, Cary, Apr. 17, 2018

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