(a) In any action for injury whether in contract or in tort against a health care provider based on a breach of the standard of care, the injured plaintiff and spouse upon proper proof may be entitled to recover noneconomic losses to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and other nonpecuniary damage.
(b) In no action shall the amount of recovery for noneconomic losses, including punitive damages, either to the injured plaintiff, the plaintiff's spouse, or other lawful dependents or any of them together exceed the sum of $400,000. Plaintiff shall not seek recovery in any amount greater than the amounts described herein for noneconomic losses. During the trial of any action neither the court nor any party shall advise or infer to the jury that it may not return an award for noneconomic losses in excess of an amount specified herein; in the event the jury is so advised or such inference is made, the trial court, upon motion of an opposing party, shall immediately declare a mistrial. Any verdict returned which includes an award for noneconomic losses in an amount greater than that permitted herein shall be reduced by the trial court to an amount which will include an award of noneconomic losses no greater than that permitted herein or to such lesser sums as the trial court deems appropriate in accordance with prevailing standards for reducing excessive verdicts.
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