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February 2018

2018 Michigan Non-Economic Damages Caps

FBMJ-Non-Economic-Damages-Caps

Since 1993, Michigan has placed a limitation on the total amount of damages for non-economic loss that are recoverable in a medical malpractice action.  The current limitation is enacted by statute in MCL § 600.1483.  “Non-economic loss” is defined under the statute to mean damages or loss due to pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, physical disfigurement, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium, and other non-economic loss.  

MCL § 600.1483 divides the limitations on non-economic damages into two categories, which are commonly referred to as the “upper tier cap” and the “lower tier cap.”  The upper tier cap applies only if the claimed medical malpractice results in one of the following instances:

1. The plaintiff is hemiplegic, paraplegic, or quadriplegic resulting in total permanent functional loss of one or more limbs caused by injury to the brain and/or spinal cord;

2. The plaintiff has permanently impaired cognitive capacity rendering him/her incapable of making independent, reasonable life decisions and permanently incapable of independently performing the activities of normal, daily living; or

3. The plaintiff has suffered permanent loss or damage to a reproductive organ resulting in the inability to procreate.

The lower tier cap applies to all other instances of medical malpractice.

On January 19, 2018, the State of Michigan Department of Treasury announced the limitations placed on non-economic damages for medical malpractice claims in Michigan in 2018.  The State Treasurer adjusts the limitations on non-economic damages annually based upon the annual percentage change in the consumer price index.  The annual percentage change in the Detroit consumer price index for the 2017 calendar years was 2.1%.  Therefore, the upper tier cap for 2018 has been adjusted to a limitation of $812,500, and the lower tier cap has been adjusted to a limitation of $455,500.

Please contact Tony Pignotti at 734.742.1800 for additional information on this or other healthcare issues.