How to Recover Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases

Pain and suffering, reduced quality of life and medical bills are some of the damages that can be included in a medical malpractice suit.

Medical malpractice damages can include recovery for pain and suffering, medical bills, and reduced quality of life. Medical malpractice can recoup an assortment of damages when a patient is injured by malpractice. If the medical malpractice ends in the patient’s death, the family of the patient or heirs may also recover any damages awarded.

In order for the patient to get awards for damage they must show that, the damages are the result of the medical malpractice, and that a price can be put on the damages suffered. There are three classes of available damages in a medical malpractice suit; general, special, and punitive damages.

General damages

General damages denote the patients’ suffering, although a price cannot by its nature be established on its own. Some common examples are the loss of the joy of life, physical or mental pain and suffering, and loss of future earnings.
No case is the same and there are no concise rulings on how damages are determined. The patient and other witnesses will testify to the pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and so on. An expert may produce evidence about the significances of the injury to the patient. They may also testify on the estimation of the loss of earning capability.

Special Damages

Covering the measurable costs produced by medical malpractice such as missed work and medical bills is special damages. There may still be some estimation especially when it pertains to future medical costs; special damages are generally more precise than general damages are. An expert may still give testimony although some states accept a copy of medical bills subject to the facts of the case.

Punitive damages

Punitive damages generally require that the doctor was aware they were acting in a harmful manner. For example, if a doctor knowingly injects a substance he knows is harmful to the body when performing a lip surgery, it would be considered for punitive damages. The judge in the case or jury if it is a jury case will decide the monetary award, but usually cannot go over several times the amount of the general and special damages.

State Limitations on Damages

States usually place a limit on the amount of damages in a medical malpractice suit. Some limit all of the damages together, some place a cap on general damages, but not special damages and in some cases take into account the amount a patient receives from their insurance, reducing the total damages a doctor must pay.

Damages Based on the Death of the Patient

Every state has laws governing damages that can be recovered if the medical malpractice ends in the patient’s death. A survival statute let the deceased patient’s estate or heirs collect damages from the time of the medical malpractice until the time of death. This normally includes everything that is allowed in a malpractice suit, except for future earning capacity.

Wrongful death statutes

Statutes for wrongful death are intended to pay compensation to the family of the patient for not only earning capacity but also, takes into account saving and working customs. Loss of companionship or emotional is normally not allowed with this statute.

Medical malpractice law is a complex matter and only an experienced lawyer can help you navigate the myriad laws covering medical malpractice. It is in your best interest to hire an attorney when you suspect medical malpractice.

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