LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas. Arkansas is a state where there is no “cap” or limit on non-economic medical malpractice damages. In a personal injury law case, non-economic damages refer to awards like pain and suffering damages. Under personal injury law, individuals are entitled to receive two kinds of damages if they have been hurt due to medical negligence. The first kind of damage involves actual economic loss. These damages cover medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation fees, and property damage. The other type of damages are pain and suffering damages, which often don’t have an economic measure, but are no less real. For instance, if a surgical error causes a marathon runner to lose his leg, the psychological pain and suffering of not being able to engage in his hobby can be serious. A family can suffer psychological and emotional harm if a loved one is misdiagnosed with a disease he or she doesn’t have.

According to Forbes, because there is no market measure of pain and suffering damages, many states have chosen to cap damage awards. Yet, just because something doesn’t have an economic measure doesn’t mean it is valueless. We cannot place a strict value on a forest or beach, but when it is damaged, we lose something important. In the same way, a person who suffers psychological or physical suffering after medical malpractice suffers a real loss. While there are fears that having no cap will create awards that could raise malpractice insurance premiums, individuals do have a right to collect a fair recovery for the suffering they endure. This may mean placing better guidelines on how pain and suffering damages are calculated. As it stands, personal injury lawyers will multiply medical expenses by another number, called a multiplier. The greater the injury, the higher the multiplier number.

According to the Times Record, for now, Arkansas will continue to remain a state with no economic caps on pain and suffering damages. A ballot initiative, which would have capped pain and suffering damages at $250,000 failed to make the cut for November 8th. The Supreme Court wrote that the initiative failed to properly define “non-economic” damages. While the initiative won’t appear on the November 8th ballot, it isn’t clear whether or not it could be approved for future ballot initiatives.

The reality is that the law must balance the rights of injured individuals with the ability of doctors to perform their duties. The Law Office of Sheila Campbell in North Little Rock is a personal injury law firm that understands the unique challenges families may face when pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Unlike personal injury cases involving car accidents or slips and falls, medical malpractice lawsuits often involve the use of expert medical witnesses. Individuals must show that a doctor failed to provide a basic standard of care to the patient. Yet, when doctors make negligent errors, families and victims can suffer immensely. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a medical error or medical malpractice visit today to learn more about how to protect your rights.