Victims of medical malpractice may be left with physical injuries and financial loss due to a doctor’s error. It is important that anyone who suspects their doctor had committed medical malpractice, such as a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, meets with an attorney immediately for a case evaluation. Your health should be your top priority, and you deserve compensation for what you have endured as a result of the medical mistake. To get a monetary award for damages, the patient must show that the medical malpractice directly caused them injury or loss, and that the damages can be quantifiable in some way.
Here we discuss the different types of damages the victim of medical malpractice may receive if they choose to file a lawsuit:
General damages are when the patient’s suffering, while very real, cannot be established through a definite price. A few common forms of this are loss of enjoyment of life, loss of future earning capacity, and physical or mental pain and suffering. Each case of medical malpractice is different from the other, so it is difficult to provide general advice that will apply to every scenario. This is why it is best to consult with an attorney in-person or over the phone so you can get insight based on your specific circumstances.
To calculate a dollar value for general damages, the patient must show evidence of their pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and loss of future earning capacity. Your attorney may suggest consulting with an expert, who may testify about the consequences of your injury. In this way, you have an expert who can attest to what you had endured, and it will prove that you are being truthful in your claims.
Special damages refer to damages that are quantifiable expenses, such as medical bills and loss of pay. Special damages are usually more of an exact number compared to general damages. Your attorney will need to review every bill or loss of income you received due to the medical malpractice.
For instance, show your attorney statements from your employer about your income, how many hours you missed from work, whether you had to use PTO or vacation hours, etc. Presenting a testimony from an expert related to your injuries may still be useful, but a document that shows an exact number in which you lost money is often influencing enough.
Depending on state laws, the injured patient may be eligible to receive punitive damages. In general, punitive damages may be awarded if the doctor must have been aware that he or she was acting in a negligent or harmful manner when the medical malpractice occurred. For instance, if a doctor left a surgical tool in the patient’s body during surgery, then this will likely qualify the patient for punitive damages. If you aren’t sure whether you should seek punitive damages, a good medical malpractice lawyer, can answer any questions you have.