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States Debate Medical Malpractice Damage Cap Laws

By David Goguen on April 07, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Lawmakers in Colorado and Nevada are debating the merits of state laws that place a limit on the amount of money damages that can be awarded to plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases.

Earlier this week, Nevada lawmakers heard arguments from both sides of the medical malpractice reform debate on a proposed state law that would remove a $350,000 cap on "pain and suffering" damages in med mal cases, KTNV Las Vegas reports.

In Colorado, lawmakers are considering re-filing a failed 2008 bill that would actually increase the amount of money that injured Colorado patients can receive in a medical malpractice lawsuit -- specifically, raising the current $300,000 cap on "pain and suffering" in medical malpractice cases, the Denver Post reports.

Medical malpractice cases can include errors in diagnosis and treatment, and problems that arise because of sub-standard medical facilities. Many states have passed laws imposing limitations or "caps" on monetary damages recoverable in malpractice suits, including the amount of "pain and suffering" awards.

In a med mal case, "pain and suffering" damage awards are intended to compensate an injured patient for past and future physical pain based on the nature of the injury, the certainty of future pain, its severity, and how long the plaintiff is likely to be in pain. Learn more: State Laws on Medical Malpractice and Reform

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