Wisconsin reinstates medical malpractice law

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Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) has signed a bill to reinstate medical malpractice caps after the state Supreme Court struck down previous caps as unconstitutional.

The measure caps noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases to $750,000. Specifically, it limits certain jury awards, which include pain and suffering damages, to this amount. The measure allows for unlimited awards for economic losses, such as lost wages and medical costs.

Providers in the state praised the new law because they believe it will help to stabilize insurance premiums and discourage lawsuits.

In December 2005, Doyle vetoed a previous bill because he believed it did not address the constitutional issues raised by the court. The previous legislation provided a higher cap on plaintiffs 18 and younger. In a July 2005 ruling, the Wisconsin Supreme Court invalidated a 10-year-old cap of $445,775.