In a medical malpractice case, the compensation you might qualify for is similar to the possible settlements in other personal injury cases. The damages you can recover in a medical malpractice case will depend on the losses you suffered.
What Can I Get Compensation for in a Medical Malpractice Case?
In general, you can get the same types of damages in a medical malpractice case that you could receive for any other personal injury case involving negligence. These damages include:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Future medical treatment;
- Loss of future earning potential;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Punitive damages, if your doctor’s actions were particularly egregious; and
- Compensation for your loved ones for things like loss of consortium and loss of support and services.
Can the Law Limit the Recovery I Get?
Yes, some states limit damage awards for malpractice claims. Some state laws do this by:
- Limiting the total amount of damages you can receive, regardless of the extent of your injuries;
- Placing restrictions on the amount of non-economic damages, like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, that you can get; or
- Prohibiting certain types of damages in medical malpractice cases, such as punitive damages, even if those damages are available for similar behavior outside of a medical setting.
There is a developing trend of judges declaring medical malpractice damages restrictions unconstitutional. Our attorneys stay informed about changing laws so we can best help our clients recover the highest compensation possible.
What Are Economic Damages?
Economic damages are losses with a quantitative value. We can readily measure these damages in dollars. For example, we will quantify and prove your economic damages for medical expenses by using your invoices and bills for the doctor, hospital, pharmacy, equipment, and other direct medical costs. Lost wages are another type of economic loss. We will get the records from your employer to show the amount of wages you lost due to your injuries.
We will prove your future medical treatment through the reports and testimony of medical experts. To build your case for the loss of future earning potential, we often use vocational and rehabilitation experts.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
Non-economic damages compensate you for the qualitative harm you experienced. For example, if a surgeon accidentally removed the only healthy kidney you have instead of the one that was necrosed, you have suffered harm far beyond the value of your medical bills. In this case, you will likely face additional surgeries and medical procedures, continuing pain and discomfort, and long-term changes to your daily life.
Non-economic damages address chronic pain, daily inconveniences, emotional harm, and the impact a catastrophic medical accident can have on your loved ones.
What Proof Is Necessary to Qualify for Damages?
We must show that the doctor was negligent and that their negligence caused the harm you suffered. For medical negligence, the doctor must have violated the standard of care that the law imposes on medical professionals. The standard of care governs how medical professionals must administer treatment to their patients.
Will I Need an Expert Witness in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
You will likely need testimony from a medical expert to pursue damages. Some states require the following:
- A statement by the lawyer that a medical professional has found reasonable grounds for malpractice, which must accompany the initial petition that starts the lawsuit; or
- A signed affidavit from a qualified medical expert that states, in their opinion, there is evidence of malpractice.
How Can I Get Legal Advice on My Case?
The medical malpractice team at Newsome | Melton helps victims pursue damages after significant harm.
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