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Do Medical Malpractice Claims Have Caps or Limits?

A medical malpractice cap is a state law which puts a limit on the amount of money that patients can recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Most often, these caps apply to non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. Though, every state is different.

The majority of U.S. states have statutory caps in place that apply to medical malpractice claims. According to the most recent national report compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “35 jurisdictions have a limit or cap” on medical malpractice damages.

The good news for patients in our region is that New York does not have a statutory cap on medical malpractice compensation. In this article, our Albany medical malpractice attorneys provide a more comprehensive explanation of the caps and limits on medical malpractice claims in New York.

No Cap On Medical Malpractice Damages In New York State

There is no statutory provision in New York State law that limits the amount of financial compensation a patient can recover in a successful medical malpractice claim. As noted, this is not true in the majority of jurisdictions in the United States.

The nation’s largest state, California, provides an illustrative contrast. Under California law, medical malpractice victims can recover compensation for the full extent of their economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc) and a maximum of $250,000 in noneconomic damages. In effect, this means that a California jury cannot award a patient more than $250,000 for pain and suffering and/or mental distress—no matter how terrible their suffering.

In New York, judges and juries can look strictly at the facts of the case. They can award compensation for the full extent of the victim’s damages, both economic and non-economic. No cap on damages exists.

You Must Comply With the Statute Of Limitations

The most important medical malpractice limit to know about in New York is the statute of limitations. You must file a medical malpractice lawsuit before the statutory deadline runs out. If you fail to bring your claim before time runs out, then you will likely miss out on your opportunity to get justice, accountability, and the financial compensation that you deserve.

Under state law (NY CPLR § 214-a), a medical negligence claim must be filed “within two years and six months.” There are some limited exceptions to the medical malpractice statute of limitations in New York. For instance, the deadline is less strict if a foreign object was left in the patient and could not have been reasonably discovered or if the patient was a minor when the malpractice occurred.

You do not want to waste time with the medical malpractice claims process. The sooner you schedule a free case evaluation with a top-rated medical malpractice attorney, the better position you will be in to bring a successful malpractice claim and recover financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

There Is A Sliding Cap On Attorneys’ Fees In Medical Malpractice Contingency Fee Agreements

Many people have questions and concerns about the cost of hiring a medical malpractice attorney. You may be wondering: Can I afford a medical malpractice lawyer in New York? The answer is a clear ‘yes’—Powers & Santola, LLP handles these claims on a contingency fee basis. There are no upfront costs or out-of-pocket fees.

Further, our state’s legal code strictly regulates contingency fee agreements in medical malpractice claims. Under New York law (NY JUD § 474-a), there is a sliding scale that limits how much a medical malpractice lawyer can charge for their services on contingency. As a general rule, the cap on contingency fees for medical malpractice claims in New York are as follows:

  • 30 percent of first $250,000;
  • 25 percent of next $250,000;
  • 20 percent of next $500,000;
  • 15 percent of next $250,000; and
  • 10 percent of all recovery in excess of $1.25 million.

Schedule A Free Consultation With A New York Medical Malpractice Attorney

At Powers & Santola, LLP, our New York medical malpractice lawyers are experienced, solution-focused advocates for clients and their loved ones. If you have any questions about your rights or options, we are more than ready to get started. Call us now or contact us online for a no cost, no obligation initial consultation. With law offices locations in Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester, we represent medical malpractice victims all throughout the region, including in Albany County, Saratoga County, Schenectady County, Rensselaer County, Monroe County, and Onondaga County.

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