Ok, so you’re a victim of medical negligence, and have hired an attorney who helped you to win a malpractice suit against the doctor who was negligent. What now? What type of medical negligence compensation can you expect to receive now that you’ve successfully proven your case? First you have to understand the different types of medical negligence compensation and what each is comprised of.
There are two categories that make up medical negligence compensation: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are easier to prove, because they involve actual economic, or monetary, damages. Things like lost wages due to a malpractice injury, medical expenses incurred from the injury and expenses for life care required after the event, are all considered compensatory in nature because they have an actual price tag associated with them. You can easily prove lost wages by supplying documents such as pay stubs and employment records. And you will most likely already have medical and hospital bills to substantiate the costs incurred from the injury in question. It is also relatively easy to provide the court with evidence to show how much certain life care requirements will cost you, by producing estimates obtained from the vendors or businesses you will be hiring to provide you with such care. (Life care requirements include anything from the use of equipment such as wheelchairs, to the necessity of adding ramps to your home to make it more accessible, to hiring long term caregivers to assist you in your day to day life.) All of these things make up compensatory damages and are figured in to your medical negligence compensation. Keep in mind that compensatory damages can also be assessed both for past and future losses.
Punitive damages are also considered when determining the amount of your medical negligence compensation, but they are more difficult to prove because they are subjective. Things like emotional and psychological distress caused by the injury, and a reduction in the quality of someone’s life, are considered punitive in nature because they are non-economic. In order to have these types of damages included in your medical negligence compensation, you must be able to prove wanton or reckless conduct on the part of the medical practitioner who acted negligently. Obviously, this is much more difficult than proving compensatory damages.
The amount of medical negligence compensation awarded can be quite substantial; much more significant than settlements in other types of tort cases. You have also have to remember that most medical attorneys are paid from the settlement you receive in your suit, as they are usually not paid upfront for their services. The portion that they take varies depending on the rate set by each attorney. You should know that statistically speaking, a much smaller percentage of claims involving medical negligence are awarded a settlement than that of regular tort claims; however the amount of compensation received is significantly higher in malpractice claims. There is no way to know ahead of time, however, how much medical negligence compensation you will receive if you are successful in your lawsuit. The amount is ultimately determined by the mediator or judge presiding over the case, depending entirely on the injury and subsequent damages incurred.