Are Damages Capped in Medical Malpractice Cases in Kentucky?
If you are injured by medical malpractice, or the failure of a health care provider to use the appropriate standards of patient care, you may be entitled to financial compensation in Kentucky. The legal term for this compensation is damages. When determining how much your medical malpractice case is worth, you will need to consider whether Kentucky has any caps that could limit your financial recovery. These are known as damage caps.
No Medical Malpractice Damage Cap in Kentucky
Many states impose damage caps, or statutory limits on how much money can be granted in a civil lawsuit. These caps are especially common in cases where it is in the public’s interest to prevent the defendant from going bankrupt by having to pay a large settlement or jury verdict, such as cases against hospitals or the government. The State of Kentucky, however, currently does not have any damage caps in its state laws.
There is no limit to how much financial compensation can be awarded for medical malpractice in Kentucky. This includes amounts given in both economic and noneconomic damages. While many states place a maximum cap on noneconomic damages, or pain and suffering, a medical malpractice plaintiff in Kentucky can receive any amount that a jury deems fair for his or her physical pain and emotional distress. This amount is not subject to a damage cap.
Economic damages also are not capped in Kentucky. A plaintiff can be awarded the full amount of his or her past and future medical expenses, therapies, medications, lost wages, out-of-pocket costs, travel expenses, disability costs, and more. This is true even if the plaintiff brings a claim against a doctor, surgeon, hospital or another health care provider in Kentucky. No damage cap on medical malpractice cases means that an injured patient is free to recover the full amount that is appropriate for the defendant’s negligence.
Damage Cap by the Kentucky Claims Commission
Although Kentucky’s general laws do not have any damage caps, the Kentucky Claims Commission has placed a limit on the amount of compensation available in a lawsuit brought against the state or state employees. The Commission limits financial recoveries to $200,000 per claim. If a single negligent action results in multiple claims, this cap is increased to $350,000. If there are multiple injured victims, the damages will be divided equally amongst them.
The Kentucky Claims Commission damage cap may apply to a medical malpractice case brought against a government or public entity. If your malpractice lawsuit names a local, county, city or state government in Kentucky as the defendant, your total economic and noneconomic damages combined may be capped at $200,000. This might be the case if you were injured at a state or local government-owned hospital or medical center.
Proposed Future Damage Caps in Kentucky
On February 3, 2022, two different bills were introduced that could impose damage caps or limits on the amount that can be recovered for injuries, property damage or death in Kentucky. One is House Bill 455 and the other is Senate Bill 142. They request an amendment to Section 54 of the Kentucky Constitution, which currently states that the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky does not have the power to limit personal injury financial recovery. The bills seek to limit the recovery for noneconomic damages in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including medical malpractice lawsuits. The bills will be put up for a vote in November.
Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
If you have a medical malpractice case in Kentucky, discuss its potential value with an attorney in Louisville at Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery. We can help you list your full damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our lawyers will accurately evaluate your case value and guide you toward the best possible resolution with personalized legal services. With an experienced medical malpractice lawyer by your side, you can maximize your financial recovery with or without a damage cap.