You can file a medical compensation lawsuit to help an injured person receive payment for losses. Such losses may be associated with injuries, medical insurance disputes, or medical malpractice. Medical compensation lawsuits involve some direct malpractice issues.

Medical compensation lawsuits may also involve some other type of personal injury or tort. This is common in car accidents cases and other accidents where one party has to pay the medical bills of another.

Damages in medical compensation lawsuits may be both economic and non-economic. In the tragic circumstance that a patient dies from medical malpractice, family members may be able to recover damages through a wrongful death claim. Many states impose damage caps on medical compensation lawsuits. These may limit the total amount of an award or limit only a part of an award.

What Are General Damages?

General damages refer to the patient’s cost of suffering that does not have a definite price. Common examples of general damages include loss of enjoyment of life, physical and mental pain and suffering, and lost future earning capacity.

Every case is different. There are no clear standards for how general damages are calculated. To arrive at a dollar value, the patient will present evidence about their pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and other areas of loss. An expert may be hired to testify or give evidence about the consequences of the patient’s injury. If the patient is young and will be impaired for life, expert testimony about estimating the value of lost earning capacity may be crucial.

General damages are not available for injuries that existed before the malpractice or the pain and suffering that a pre-malpractice injury alone will cause going forward.

What are Special Damages?

Special damages include the quantifiable expenses caused by medical malpractice, including medical bills and time missed from work. Special damages are typically more exact than general damages.

Experts are useful in calculating special damages, but some states only require a certified copy of a medical bill to quantify damages.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Patients may recover punitive damages in some circumstances. Punitive damages vary from state to state, but generally, doctors must have known that they were behaving in a harmful manner. The exact amount of punitive damages awarded is up to the judge or jury.

Punitive damages are fairly uncommon, but they may be awarded in particularly egregious cases. Economic and non-economic damages intend to compensate a patient for their costs and losses. Punitive damages, on the other hand, serve to punish the medical professional for their conduct and send a message to other medical professionals. Punitive damages may be substantial in cases where they are awarded. Judges and juries have discretion in setting the award within certain limits.

Victims usually need to prove intent, recklessness, or another mental state that is greater than negligence in order to obtain punitive damages. Unless the defendant’s conduct was borderline criminal, this may be difficult to do.

Are There State Limitations on Damages?

Several states place caps on the maximum amount of damages a patient can recover. Some states put a cap on all damages. For example, some states do not allow patients to recover more than $500,000. Other states have only a cap on general damages, meaning compensation for damages like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and the psychological impact of scarring or bodily disfigurement. General damages may be referred to as non-economic damages because they are usually not measured by a dollar amount.

California sets a $250,000 limit on non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases, but no limit on economic damages. The state does not limit compensation for past and future medical care, loss of past earnings, and diminished potential for future earning capacity.

Some states have rules that reduce the damages a doctor must pay by the amount an injured patient receives from other sources, such as insurance. Other states have statutes that limit the amount a patient’s attorney can charge for malpractice cases. Caps on damages in medical malpractice cases are more common than caps on damages in ordinary personal injury cases.

Caps usually apply to only non-economic damages. In some states, awards must take into account other sources of payment that a victim received, such as benefits from insurance policies.

What Are the Most Common Surgical Mistakes?

Some of the most common mistakes that lead to clinical and surgical negligence claims include:

  • Failure to diagnose appendicitis
  • Failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy
  • Perforation of the bowel during an abnormal pregnancy
  • Hemorrhage after gynecological surgery
  • Wrong sized prosthetics being used in hip or knee joint surgery
  • Damage to the bile duct following gallbladder surgery

What are Survival Statutes?

All states have laws determining what types of damages can be recovered if medical malpractice results in a patient’s death. These laws are called survival statutes.

Survival statutes allow the deceased patient’s heirs or estate to recover damages that happened during the time between the initial medical malpractice to the death of the patient. These damages typically include all damages allowed in a malpractice suit had the patient survived, except for damages relating to the future, such as earning capacity. Some survival statutes also allow the recovery of funeral expenses.

Can I Make a Medical Negligence Claim on Behalf of a Child?

Parents and guardians can make negligence claims on behalf of children. If a case is won, it may be wise to set up a personal injury trust that can help you manage any compensation that’s awarded in order to protect your child’s financial future.

What Are Wrongful Death Statutes?

Wrongful death statutes are designed to compensate a patient’s family for their future monetary loss. The amount of compensation is calculated by projecting the patient’s future salary and the patient’s spending, saving, and work habits. The patient’s age, economic status, and number of dependents may also be considered.

Compensation for the family’s loss of companionship or emotional harm is typically not allowed under wrongful death statutes, although some states have recently begun to allow that type of recovery. Not all family members can recover wrongful death damages depending on the state. For example, a state may allow the patient’s spouse and children to recover damages, but not the patient’s uncle or cousin.

Are There Any Special Rules Regarding Medical Compensation?

Anytime there is an injury involved, the plaintiff will likely file for medical compensation during the personal injury lawsuit. While this is common, many rules will help prevent bogus or fraudulent claims. Many state personal injury laws limit medical malpractice awards.

Many states such as Texas and New York place a limit or “cap” on the total amount of damages that plaintiffs can recover medical compensation in a malpractice claim. These caps effectively limit the plaintiff’s award in states that enforce such rules.

Lastly, many medical compensation claims involve worker’s compensation issues. This is especially true for medical claims that are work-related or that involve on-the-job injuries.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Medical Compensation Lawsuits?

Medical compensation is a highly complex area of personal injury law. You should consider hiring a personal injury lawyer for any medical compensation lawsuits or legal issues.

A personal injury attorney will guide you through the legal system to help you obtain the appropriate remedy. Your lawyer can provide you with valuable legal advice and guidance during the legal process.