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Justinian Lane

Kansas Damage Caps About To Be Tested

$760,000 is much lower than I would have anticipated for this.  It’s really more like a $575,000 award, as the past & future medical expense damages aren’t part of the noneconomic damage award:

Topeka — Seven years ago, Amy Miller, Eudora, went in for surgery for removal of her right ovary. Lawrence physician Dr. Carolyn Johnson removed Miller’s left ovary by mistake.

Miller sued, alleging medical malpractice. The dispute will land this week before the Kansas Supreme Court with arguments scheduled for Thursday.

The case has drawn some of the state’s biggest special interests, with doctors, insurers and businesses lined up against plaintiff’s attorneys, organized labor and other groups in a battle over whether it’s constitutional to place a legal limit on damages for pain and suffering.

In 2006, a Douglas County jury returned a verdict for Miller for $759,680.

That award included $250,000 for noneconomic losses; $150,000 for future noneconomic losses; $84,680 for medical expenses; $100,000 for future medical expenses, and $175,000 for loss or impairment of services as a spouse. Noneconomic losses are awarded for pain, suffering, disability, mental anguish and physical disfigurement.

Source: Botched surgery case to test pain, suffering limits / LJWorld.com

If we accept the allegation that a negligent doctor removed a healthy ovary and left a woman unable to bear children, $575,000 doesn’t seem outrageously high to me.  It’s not a negligible sum of money, but it’s low enough to show we can trust juries not to go overboard when making their awards.

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Posted at 4:25 PM, Oct 26, 2009 in Medical Malpractice
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