Do Damage Cap Laws Pass Constitutional Muster?

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Nearly 30 states currently limit the amount of damages that can be received in a medical malpractice lawsuit, according to the American Medical Association. States with damage caps vary wildly in their limitations and the types of damages that are limited. For instance, California limits non-compensatory damages at $250,000, while Nebraska limits total damages at $1.75 million.

In 2005, an Illinois law invoked limitations on non-economic damages at $500,000 in lawsuits alleging medical malpractice, including wrongful death, against a physician, and $1 million in lawsuits against a hospital. In 2010, however, the Illinois Supreme Court deemed the damage cap to be unconstitutional because it interfered with the authority of judges and juries to reduce verdicts.

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