Wisconsin’s current cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases is $750,000. The state’s $1.15 billion Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund, which is supported by premiums from doctors, exists to cover malpractice awards upwards of $1 million.
As of late, two Milwaukee county malpractice cases challenge the $750,000 cap. The first case awarded a woman who had her limbs amputated as a result of an undetected strep infection and her husband $15 million for pain and suffering and $1.5 for loss of companionship. The other case awarded a 23-year-old man $2.2 million for misdiagnosed compartment syndrome that resulted in the loss of sensation in his leg.
Hearings were held this week to assess the validity of the state of Wisconsin’s $750,000 non-economic damages cap, during which the two previous cases were discussed. Circuit Court Judge David Hasher noted that the money in the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund was unnecessarily high. Wisconsin Medical Society lobbyist Mark Grapentine argued the size of the fund is needed to “handle potential outlays (Wisconsin State Journal, 2014).” The cases are now heading to the state Supreme Court.