Determining Damages Caused for a Medical Malpractice Case
There are different ways one could suffer from medical malpractice, such as through emergency room error, surgical error, misdiagnosis and a variety of other types of negligence on behalf of medical staff. If you think you have a medical malpractice case, it’s necessary to hire a medical negligence attorney to represent you in court.
The damages caused in a medical malpractice case are a critical element. If a plaintiff is unable to prove the injuries were due to doctor misconduct, then it can be difficult, if not impossible, to recover damages for the injuries. A causal connection has to be made between the doctor’s negligence and the plaintiff’s injuries. There are two kinds of damages that can be claimed in a medical malpractice case and that include punitive damages and compensatory damages. By working with a medical malpractice lawyer from Dansker & Aspromonte Associates in New York City, you can have your case analyzed and evaluated, so you can see if there is a case that can be put together for damages caused to you.
What Are Compensatory Damages?
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When compensatory damages are claimed in a medical malpractice case, it means that the plaintiff is looking for compensation for his or her injury or harm. In simple terms, this is used to help make the plaintiff “whole” again. There are two categories that compensatory damages can be placed in: actual damages for economic loss and general damages for non-economic loss.
Economic loss overall means the plaintiff was required to pay out-of-pocket for expenses like hospital and medical bills, medications, nursing care, medical equipment and physical therapy. Missed work days due to recovery translates to wages lost. This can be recovered as compensatory damages.
Non-economic losses are more difficult because it isn’t easily calculated into monetary value. This comes in the form of pain and suffering, loss of consortium or companionship, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of ability to work, disfigurement, disability or other physical impairment. Future lost wages can also be calculated into the damages for recovery, along with ay medical therapy or treatment the plaintiff may need. If the defendant’s negligence impaired the chance of the plaintiff to get a better outcome using surgery or other medical procedure, this too can be recoverable in the form of non-economic losses.
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In the event that the plaintiff is unable to show proof of actual damages, then he or she could possibly receive recovery for nominal damages. This is typically awarded in tiny amounts when a plaintiff doesn’t have any actual harm, in order to show recognition that the plaintiff sustained legal injury.
What Are Punitive Damages?
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When evidence proves that the doctor, nurse or other health care provider either willfully, maliciously, wantonly, fraudulently, with conscious indifference or in bad faith caused the negligence of the plaintiff, he or she can claim punitive damages. Another term for this is exemplary damages, which is used to act as a punishment for the health care provider for his or her wrongful acts in order to stop it from happening again in the future. Punitive damages can’t be imposed in cases involving negligence only. However, some states do allow plaintiffs to receive compensation for exemplary damages. This occurs when the injury is more severe due to circumstances that are aggravating.
Some of the scenarios where plaintiffs received punitive damages from a doctor or other health care provider include the following:
- The surgeon failed to get the patient’s informed consent before a surgery
- The surgery wasn’t performed properly or adequate follow-up care wasn’t provided
- Sufficient tests weren’t performed to ensure the health of a child
- Fraud or misrepresenting a surgery
- Making changes to medical records
- Improperly administering anesthesia or medications
There are various factors that have been used to support the recovery of punitive damages. Some of the factors include conducting a surgery when tired (such as after a long day), performing a medical procedure at a rate that is substantially higher than normal, using a procedure when a more appropriate procedure is indicated, overpricing medical services, and using a medical treatment that has shown bad results in other patients before.
Depending on the situation, it is also possible for a plaintiff to recover punitive damages from a hospital or clinic. There have been cases awarded to the plaintiff by the court, where he or she was allowed punitive damages because of a clinic or hospital being liable for its employees’ conduct. Other scenarios include: a health care institution didn’t ensure its employees are competent enough for their position or were inadequately supervised; sufficient facilities, supplies or equipment weren’t provided by the hospital; and the refusal by an institution to show medical records.
Get in Touch with a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Contact a medical malpractice lawyer at Dansker & Aspromonte Associates in New York City to see if your case is eligible for the recovery of damages for injuries.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.