Damages and Compensation in a Medical Malpractice Case

In a medical malpractice lawsuit, “damages” is the way in which the legal system tries to answer the question "What has the injured patient lost?" The answer to this question adds up to a dollar figure, but there are two types of damages in a medical malpractice case:

  • Damages capable of exact calculation
  • Damages not capable of exact calculation

Damages That Can Be Calculated Exactly

Special damages are lost earnings, medical bills, and other financial losses caused by the medical malpractice injury or harm. Present value is a financial concept that involves determining the value of a future stream of income. In other words, how much money does your employer need in order to pay you your salary for the next several years?

If you are unemployed at the time you are injured, you can generally claim your earnings from your previous job as your earning capacity. If you have not worked for many years, the defense attorney can argue that you have no earning capacity and thus should have no lost earning claim. In this situation, you must formulate a plan for making a lost earnings claim. If you are retired, then you have no lost earning claim.

Medical malpractice cases often involve catastrophic injuries that require a lifetime of medical care. The amount of the future medical bills in serious medical malpractice cases can reach into the millions. A lawyer can retain a special expert witness, called a medical economist, to properly present these types of damages to the jury.

Damages That Can’t Be Exactly Calculated

Non-economic damages include pain and suffering and mental anguish, as well as what is called loss of consortium. There are no guidelines for determining the value of an injured person’s pain and suffering; a jury cannot look at a chart to figure out how much to award. Factors that can impact the value of pain and suffering damages includes whether the plaintiff’s injuries are easy for the jury to understand and whether the jury thinks the defendant has lied. Loss of consortium refers to the intangible benefits that the injured person provided to their spouse or children.

If you have been injured in a medical malpractice case, please contact our Montgomery County medical malpractice attorneys at Morris Wilson, P.C. Call (610) 810-2082 today to get in contact today.

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