What Are Utah’s Caps on Medical Malpractice Damages?
Medical professionals are required to deliver the “accepted standard of care.” The accepted standard of care is that which would be provided by a similarly trained medical professional presented with similar circumstances. If that standard of care is neglected and patients suffer damages as a result, they can sue for medical malpractice.
The state of Utah has highly regulated medical malpractice laws, which include caps on medical malpractice damages. Here, medical malpractice attorneys from Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC discuss how these caps may impact the amount of money collected by their Salt Lake City, UT, clients.
Caps for Economic Losses
When a person files a medical malpractice lawsuit, the majority of the damages they seek are typically those stemming from economic losses. Economic losses in a medical malpractice case include any quantifiable financial losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Anticipated future medical expenses
- Cost of any necessary medical equipment
- Cost of prescription medication
- Lost wages
- Loss of wage earning potential
The state of Utah does not place a cap on economic losses in a medical malpractice case. As long as plaintiffs are able to demonstrate financial losses and the lawsuit is found in their favor, they can seek compensation for the full extent of economic damages, including those that may be ongoing and those that are likely to be incurred in the future.
Caps for Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages in a medical malpractice suit are those that cannot be easily quantified. While there may not be a defined economic loss with these types of damages, they can be just as devastating to our Salt Lake City clients, if not more so. Potential non-economic losses in a medical malpractice case include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Diminished quality of life
Utah does place a cap on non-economic damages in a wrongful death suit, and it is pretty restrictive. The state allows for no more than $450,000 to be awarded to any medical malpractice victim, despite the circumstances of their case. This amount was previously even lower, but has been adjusted for inflation.
Damages for Attorney’s Fees
In many states, when people are involved in a civil lawsuit, they have the opportunity to seek compensation for attorney’s fees. The state of Utah does not place a cap on attorney fee damages, per se, but they do have restrictions regarding who can collect damages for attorney’s fees, and how much they may receive.
In Utah, a party can only receive compensation for attorney’s fees if two factors are met:
- They are the prevailing party in the litigation (i.e. the case is found in their favor)
- A statute or contract between the two parties allows for the recovery of attorney fees
If attorney fees are awarded, the court still may limit how much fees can be recovered. They have the right to limit the amount to what they consider to be “reasonable attorney’s fees.”
If you believe that you have been a victim of medical malpractice and are interested in finding out about the amount of compensation you may be due, the attorneys at Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC would be happy to assist you. To discuss your case in further detail, contact our attorneys online, or call our Salt Lake City law firm at (801) 335-6467.