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Polygence Scholar2023
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Diya Bhaireddy

Class of 2025Acton, Massachusetts


Hi there! My name is Diya and I'm a high school sophomore. I've been looking for ways to engage in research prior to college and Polygence seems like the perfect opportunity! I'm conflicted in what I'd like to pursue as my profession when I'm older; I want to study law because of my liking for English, but at the same time I'd like to study medicine from what my parents do. So, I chose to conduct my research on a topic involving both fields--medical malpractice! I can't wait to see where this project takes me!


  • "How does tort reform law impact non-economic damages in medical malpractice?" with mentor Lisa (Aug. 10, 2023)

Project Portfolio

How does tort reform law impact non-economic damages in medical malpractice?

Started Jan. 12, 2023

Abstract or project description

Medical malpractice is a complicated subject, involving medical error and translating to legal action. Malpractice occurs when a medical or healthcare professional causes injury or death to a patient through negligence in care. This negligence always concerns both the physician and the patient; it isn't always only the physician causing negligence to the patient. The patient can disobey the physician's orders, taking the position of the defendant. When a plaintiff is able to prove defendant’s liability in a malpractice case can recover two types of damages: economic damages (medical bills, lost income, property damage, loss of earning capacity, vocational rehabilitation, household services, and out-of-pocket costs); and non-economic damages (subjectively evaluated by court). These non-economic damages are so open ended. They include pain, emotional anguish, humiliation, reputational damage, loss of enjoyment of activities, or worsening of prior injuries. In most states, there is no cap on non-economic damages in personal injury cases, but there is a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. When some damages can be millions of dollars, this cap reduces them to the standard amount, not amounting to the emotional distress potentially caused by negligence. Many victims have tried to challenge these caps, and although it is incredulous to place a monetary value on emotional trauma, with some reason, it is possible to strike down more caps on damages across the U.S.