Does the cap on medical malpractice damages mean my hospital and therapy bills with not be paid? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

During 2018, Virginia law places a hard cap of around $2.5M on total damage awards to victims of medical malpractice. No matter what happened or how much lifelong care a person requires as a result of malpractice, the most he or she can recover for medical bills, pain and suffering, and continuing care is less than $3M.

The statutory cap on medical malpractice awards does not, however, apply to punitive damages. These are noncriminal penalties assessed against health providers or medical facility owners who should have known that their behavior or policies and procedures put the patient at risk for death or disability. A jury can award any amount of punitive damages it believes the malpractice victim deserves.

Another way to defeat Virginia’s hard cap on medical malpractice is to file separate claims against every health care provider or medical facility that failed to meet its duty to protect the patient’s life and well-being. Pursuing more than one claim is not always possible, though, because a court may order that claims be combined into a single lawsuit.

Your Virginia medical malpractice lawyer will know whether the facts of your case merit seeking punitive damages or filing multiple claims against different providers and facilities.