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Two ways to avoid or limit medical, hospital malpractice liability, P.2

In our previous post, we began looking at a couple ways to limit liability in medical and hospital malpractice cases, beginning with the determination of the statute of limitations. As we noted, damages are another important area to consider, particularly noneconomic damages.

Noneconomic damages include things like; pain and suffering; loss of society, companionship, and consortium; disfigurement; mental anguish; and other types of intangible losses. Under Ohio law, noneconomic damages are supposed to be capped at the greater of either (a) $250,000 or (b) three times the amount of the plaintiff’s economic losses, up to a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff or $500,000 for each occurrence of malpractice. 

In cases where a patient suffers permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, loss of a bodily organ system, or permanent physical functional injury that prevents the patient from caring for him- or herself, the limitations on recovery are smaller: $500,000 per plaintiff or $1 million for each occurrence of malpractice.

While the above-mentioned damages limitations are applied more or less as a matter of course, it is also important for defendants in medical and hospital malpractice cases to carefully scrutinize all claimed damages claims and seek to minimize them to the extent appropriate to the facts of the case. Inflation of damages can occur not only with noneconomic damages, but also with economic damages, and seeking appropriate limitations is an important element of malpractice defense strategy.

An experienced attorney, of course, can provide a physician or hospital the best possible representation in addressing these issues, and generally in building the strongest possible case. 

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