Bring An Equalizer to the Fight. Choose a Firm That Was Created to Advocate for Victims.

Wisconsin's Medical Malpractice Cap Ruled Unconstitutional

Signing Legal PapersThe State of Wisconsin’s cap on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits has been deemed unconstitutional. The decision of the state appellate court clears the way for a Milwaukee woman to receive the full $16.5 million she was awarded for pain and suffering in the wake of a serious medical mistake. Ascaris Mayo, a 57-year-old mother of four, lost all four limbs after doctors failed to properly diagnose a Strep A infection.

"We conclude that the statutory cap on non-economic damages is unconstitutional on its face," Judge Joan Kessler wrote on behalf of the unanimous First District Court of Appeals panel. She added that "Wisconsin's cap on non-economic medical malpractice damages always reduces non-economic damagesonly for the class of the most severely injured victims who have been awarded damages exceeding the cap, yet always allows full damages to the less severely injured malpractice victims."

As detailed in the court’s opinion, Mayo sought treatment at Columbia St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee, complaining of abdominal pain and a high fever. The doctors did not properly diagnose Mayo’s septic infection, which could have been treated with antibiotics at that point. "Instead, Mayo was told to follow up with her personal gynecologist for her history of uterine fibroids," Kessler wrote.

Mayo instead sought treatment at a different hospital, which properly diagnosed her condition. "Ultimately, the sepsis caused nearly all of Mayo's organs to fail and led to dry gangrene in all four of Mayo's extremities, necessitating the amputation of all of Mayo's extremities," Kessler wrote.

California’s Medical Malpractice Cap

Wisconsin law caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases at $750,000. In California, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which was enacted in 1975, imposes a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. This number hasn't been adjusted to acocunt for inflation.

Efforts to amend this cap on medical malpractice compensation in CA have been unsuccessful. The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act attempted to raise the cap to $1.1 million and permanently index it to inflation, but the measure failed in 2015.

If you know someone who has suffered serious harm due to a medical mistake, or if you’ve personally suffered at the hands of a medical professional, the Law Offices of Robert Vaage is here to help. Call us at (619) 739-4040 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our San Diego medical malpractice lawyer. Consultations are free until your case is won.