We recognize that dealing with the consequences of medical malpractice can put a strain on your physical, financial, and psychological well-being. You should know that you likely have legal options at your disposal. If you are considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may be curious about how much you stand to gain.
The reality is that every medical malpractice lawsuit is unique, and it is difficult to estimate compensation without knowing the specifics of the malpractice and consequences to the victim. Courts calculate medical malpractice damages based on a number of different factors, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Hiring a medical malpractice lawyer will be critical for estimating your potential recovery and evaluating any settlement offers you receive along the way.
At Bennett & Heyman, our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers have years of experience assisting clients just like you in their recovery journey. We offer free consultations for all new clients who have questions about what to expect from their case. To schedule your first appointment today, call us at (410) 429-7856.
Calculating Damages in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Medical malpractice lawsuits return money from defendants (or their insurers) to successful plaintiffs. This money, also referred to as damages, is mean to compensate the medical malpractice victim for the harms they sustained as a result of the malpractice. Damages are calculated based on a few different theories of loss. Below, we can provide summaries of how courts think of the different theories. However, the best way to estimate what your suit might return in a trial is to speak with one of our seasoned medical malpractice attorneys today.
The most straightforward theory, economic damages are calculated based on direct financial loss suffered due to the medical malpractice. Primarily, this will cover all medical expenses associated with the medical malpractice. This not only includes costs of any procedures that were performed negligently or recklessly, but also the cost of any actions that must be taken to remedy the harms of the malpractice, such as additional surgeries, extended hospital stays, and physical therapy. If you have to make modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate your malpractice injuries, your lawsuit may win you the compensation necessary to make those changes.
Under economic damages, you will likely also be able to recover for any loss of income you sustained due to the malpractice. If you were forced into an extended recovery process due to your injuries and missed time at work, your damages may include your lost wages. If the malpractice resulted in a long-term condition that indefinitely prevents you from meeting the responsibilities of your job, damage calculations will account for your lost earning potential and missed opportunity for promotion.
You likely will not be able to recover damages in line with costs that you would have incurred without the medical malpractice. For instance, if your surgeon was supposed to remove your appendix and negligently removed your kidney instead, having the surgery to remove your appendix likely won’t be covered in economic damages. If you would have missed work while recovering from a procedure that did not consist of malpractice, you may only be able to recover the lost wages from additional recovery time that the malpractice caused.
Medical malpractice victims experience harms that affect more than just their financial well-being. These harms will be accounted for through an award of non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are meant to compensate medical malpractice victims for the pain and suffering they have and will likely experience because of their hardship. Depending on the nature of the medical malpractice and resulting injuries, victims may experience chronic pain, limitations on bodily function, and psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety. These consequences may impact a victim’s day-to-day functioning, personal relationships, and enjoyment of life.
You should be aware that some states place statutory limits on how much a personal injury plaintiff can recover in damages from a medical malpractice lawsuit. Most of these caps apply specifically to non-economic damages. Most statutory caps adjust based on a scale and wind up in the high six-figure range. Your medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your case to determine how much you may stand to recover from non-economic damages in a medical malpractice suit.
Compensation for Settlements vs. Trial Verdicts in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Oftentimes, medical malpractice victims with potential claims will receive settlement offers from the defendant or their malpractice insurance provider. A settlement offer is a deal in which the responsible party pays the victim a certain amount of money in exchange for the victim’s agreement to waive their right to sue for the malpractice. Settlements can sometimes be helpful for plaintiffs as they achieve guaranteed payment earlier while avoiding a drawn-out court battle. In fact, most medical malpractice plaintiffs end up settling their claims.
However, settlement offers almost always contain less value than the plaintiff would stand to recover if they were to win a verdict in court. You do not have to accept the first settlement offer that you receive. Plaintiffs can reject, counter, and negotiate settlement offers at any time before and even during a trial. Many plaintiffs who pursue their case further ultimately obtain substantially higher settlement offers as the case gets closer to trial.
The best way to approach a settlement negotiation for a medical malpractice case is with legal counsel by your side. Our medical malpractice attorneys can evaluate your case and estimate what you could rightfully win at trial. If you are offered an inadequate settlement agreement, your lawyer can negotiate a fair resolution on your behalf. If no fair settlement can be reached, we will represent you in your court case and put you in the best position to achieve justice.
Questions About Compensation for Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit? We Are Here to Help
The seasoned medical malpractice lawyers at Bennett & Heyman can listen to your story and explain your options so you can make the right decision for your recovery. Start the conversation for free by calling (410) 429-7856 today.