In medical malpractice cases, noneconomic damages are an important but controversial issue. Such damages encompass losses that cannot be directly monetized, such as loss of a limb, trauma, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. In tort reform, noneconomic damages are often capped so that juries don’t give excessive awards. A recent medical malpractice case out of Wisconsin highlights how jury awards can exceed the cap.
The case involves a 53-year-old married wife and mother who had her limbs amputated after contracting a Strep A infection which went unnoticed and resulted in septic shock. In total, the woman and her husband were awarded a total of $25.3 million; $15 million of the award was for pain and suffering while $1.5 million was for the husband’s loss of companionship.