Types of Damages That are Considered in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Every day in the United States, patients entrust their lives to medical professionals expecting to be treated with the utmost level of care. Unfortunately, patients routinely suffer at the hands of negligent doctors and nurses causing serious injury or death. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional deviates from the standard of care expected in their profession, thereby negligently causing injury to their patient. Some estimates suggest that medical malpractice is the third most common cause of death in the United States, yet only 2% of those who suffer from medical malpractice file claims for compensation. While no dollar amount can replace a loved one or remedy this violation of trust, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you or your loved one has suffered through either medical malpractice or wrongful death. We understand that there is no way to replace your loss, but we hope to ease your stress by helping you get what you deserve.
Damages in medical malpractice suits come in many forms, and thankfully there are many factors in a malpractice injury that the courts recognize deserve compensation. When you bring a case, the amount will be determined by the jury and can include both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages reimburse the victim for financial costs relating to the malpractice. This may include medical expenses, such as costs for medical care or therapy required to treat the injury. Plaintiffs can also receive lost wages if the injury prevented them from working and resulted in a loss of income. Furthermore, the damages can account for future medical expenses after the issuance of the verdict. Any other economic losses that can be proven in court will also be considered.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify, and often include reimbursement for pain and suffering and damages for any reduction in the victim’s quality of life, also known of loss of life enjoyment. If the injury resulted in a disability causing a loss of earning potential, the victim may be entitled to relief for this as well. Non-economic damages cap at $500,000 unless the jury determines there are circumstances which would imply that this cap would be unreasonable.
Punitive damages are relatively uncommon in medical malpractice cases but may be relevant in certain situations. This would come into play if the victim could prove that the injury was caused by more than ordinary negligence, and instead was more akin to a criminal act.
Actions based on the death of a patient may be handled differently depending on the nature of the lawsuit. The first type is an action for wrongful death. Damages in wrongful death actions may cover funeral expenses and the family’s financial losses resulting from a loss of the income of the deceased. Massachusetts also recognizes damages for loss of consortium, the deprivation of the benefits of a familial relationship, for certain family members of the victim. You may also pursue a survival action, which compensates either the victim’s estate for the cost related to the malpractice prior to the victim’s death. This includes medical expenses and may involve damages for pain and suffering of the victim prior to their death.
Medical malpractice claims can be complex to litigate in Massachusetts, and the best thing you can do is contact a medical malpractice attorney right away. At Altman & Altman LLP, we have highly experienced medical malpractice lawyers that are prepared to handle your case. Medical malpractice clients pay no fees unless we recover money on their behalf.
At Altman & Altman, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week - including nights and weekends. To schedule a Free Initial Consultation with one of our dedicated Greater Boston Medical Malpractice Attorneys, call us at 617.492.3000 or Contact Us Online.