When a physician or health care provider is responsible for an injury that a patient sustained because of treatment, the patient can pursue a medical malpractice personal injury lawsuit. If the physician has provided the patient with care that is worse than what is expected from any reasonable physician, the patient has the right to be paid for the damages caused.
Defining Malpractice Damages
Once you have proven that your doctor has given you care that is below what is expected, you can claim damages if you can prove the doctor caused an injury, as well as proving the extent of that injury. There are three categories of damages that you can claim in medical malpractice:
Economic damages refer to an actual amount of money that is lost due to the medical malpractice. These damages primarily cover:
1. The medical bills that you have had to pay due to your doctor’s negligence. If your doctor mistreated you and you had to pay extra for additional surgery, physical therapy, or any other care, you have the right to be compensated.
2. You can be compensated for any wages you lost due to physician mistreatment. If your doctor treats you incorrectly and you miss work as a result, you have the right to be compensated. Even if you took sick/vacation time, you have the right to be paid back for those days. If your doctor has left you unable to work, that goes into calculating a settlement as well.
Non-economic damages refer to losses that do not directly pertain to money. These can include:
1. Pain and suffering – If your mistreatment has caused you pain and suffering you have the right to be reimbursed for your loss.
2. Emotional distress – You have the right to be compensated if you can prove that your injuries cause you emotional or mental anguish. Examples of emotional distress include insomnia, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder.
3. Loss of companionship – If the injury results in the loss or incapacitation of a loved one the family of the person deserves compensation. This can occur in cases where there is a death or even where the loved one just isn’t the same.
Punitive damages are different than the other types of damages in that they are meant to punish the physician. In states where punitive damages are allowed in medical malpractice cases, the doctor has to have done something more than just committing negligence. If the doctor has acted atrociously or been grossly negligent then punitive damages may be claimed.
Maximizing Malpractice Damages
You can strengthen your case by compiling evidence against your doctor. The most effective evidence consists of medical records and expert witnesses. Your case is strengthened if you have good records of your medical bills and time missed from work. Don’t forget to keep records about your pain and suffering as well, as you can also be compensated for them.
Nothing is more effective in proving malpractice than a picture. Keep photos of all your injuries. The best thing you can do for yourself in a medical malpractice case is to get legal help. An attorney can maximize your settlement amount and help you put together a strong case.