Legal Alert: 2020 Limitations on Noneconomic Damages in Medical Malpractice Claims

By: Ashley C. Quackenbush

On January 30, 2020, the State of Michigan Department of Treasury announced the 2020 limitations on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice claims. The “upper cap” was adjusted to a limitation of $842,500, and the “lower cap” was adjusted to a limitation of $471,800.

These limitations are enacted by statute. MCL § 600.1483 defines “non-economic loss” as “damages or loss due to pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, or physical disfigurement, loss of society and companionship, … loss of consortium, or other noneconomic loss.” The two limitations on noneconomic damages are referred to as the “upper cap” and the “lower cap.” The upper cap applies only if the claimed medical malpractice results in one or more of the following scenarios:

1. The plaintiff is hemiplegic, paraplegic, or quadriplegic resulting in total permanent functional loss of one or more limbs caused by an injury to the brain and/or spinal cord;

2. The plaintiff has permanently impaired cognitive capacity rendering him or her incapable of making independent, reasonable life decisions and permanently incapable of independently performing the activities of normal, daily living; or

3. The plaintiff has suffered permanent loss of or damage to a reproductive organ resulting in the inability to procreate.

The lower cap applies to all other instances of medical malpractice.

The full certification, as posted by the State of Michigan Department of Treasury, can be found here.

Please contact one of Smith Haughey’s medical malpractice defense attorneys with any questions you might have.