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Medical malpractice cap

Virginia’s medical malpractice cap was passed in 1976 in response to Virginia’s medical malpractice crisis. As physicians faced skyrocketing med mal rates, the cap was successful in stabilizing the market and reducing the amount of awards. The cap also helped ensure that insurance companies would continue to write policies in Virginia.

Virginia’s cap has been upheld twice by the Virginia Supreme Court. In both cases, justices cited the existence of the state’s Birth Injury Fund as a key element of the cap’s constitutionality.

In 2009, Del. David Albo (R-Fairfax) and Sen. Henry Marsh III (D-Richmond) charged the Medical Society of Virginia (MSV), the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (VTLA) and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) to work together to reach an agreement on the medical malpractice cap. After many months of discussions and negotiation, MSV and VTLA reached an agreement that maintained an aggregate cap for the next 20 years while ensuring a fair and reasonable medical tort system in Virginia and preserving access to top quality health care for Virginia’s citizens. 

During the 2011 General Assembly, legislation to enact the agreement (House Bill (HB 1459) and the Senate Bill (SB 771)) were passed with nearly unanimous support. Although Gov. Bob McDonnell vetoed the medical malpractice cap bill, MSV worked aggressively to secure the needed votes to overturn the governor's veto. Virginia's medical malpractice cap will increase in $50,000 annual increments beginning on July 1, 2012 through July 1, 2031. The Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) is pleased with the outcome of the medical malpractice cap agreement.

Below you will find additional information and resources that provide detail related to the process and agreement. MSV encourages you to share this information with your colleagues and forward any questions to


Medical malpractice cap agreement backgrounder

Medical malpractice cap agreement Q&A

The history of the medical malpractice cap

Medical Liability Whitepaper (PDF)