Often, with major cases, focus groups are used to determine these kinds of situations. In a personal injury case focus group, a group of people volunteer to hear the facts of the case and then answer questions pertaining to the case so that the attorneys can get an idea of what the general public (and hopefully the future jury) is thinking. Knowing that a focus group of 20 people all thought the victim should be paid at least $50,000 can help a lot in determining a starting point.
I was injured when a piece of metal came loose from a signin kiosk at a plasma center I frequent came swinging down at my arms. It was so loud, an employee saw it & joked I'd have to pay $60 to repair it. This hurt, but not enough to forego my donation $, but as I donated, it began hurting more. I ended up bruising on both arms for 3 weeks & in pain.
I have this fantasy in which I am four years old again, and my screaming, raging bpd mother is looming over me and threatening to beat me with a heavy leather belt again, and I just very calmly fold my arms and say something like, "OK, lady. Fine. You take ONE step closer to me and I'm calling my lawyer. Your crazy ass is going to get hauled into jail for physically assaulting and battering a 4-year-old with a dangerous object. That's YEARS in prison, you fucking maniac. Just try it, I dare you."
Most people know that if a hospital makes a mistake that hurts them, they can sue the doctor or nurse or hospital in state court under state medical malpractice/ negligence laws. What most people, including many lawyers and doctors do not know is that you can also sue hospitals for failure to evaluate and/ or stabilize a medical condition that causes harm to the patient under a federal statute. The statute is commonly referred to as the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA).
In addition, the fact that you like your doctor doesn’t actually mean that he’s any good at what he does. It would be a mistake to let your doctor get away with malpractice if he is exercising a poor quality of care. Remember: the fact that he’s a nice guy doesn’t mean he’s a competent physician. Don’t you want to receive compensation for your injury or the injury of a loved one and possibly keep him from injuring someone else?
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor (or other medical professional) who fails to competently perform his or her medical duties. The rules about medical malpractice -- from when you must bring your lawsuit to whether you must notify the doctor ahead of time -- vary from state to state. But there are some general principals and broad categories of rules that apply to most medical malpractice cases. Here's an overview of the law and some of these special rules.

When suing a hospital or a doctor, you usually seek to recover past and future medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses. But you can also seek compensation for pain and suffering. Generally, a person can pursue a claim for pain and suffering when they are injured due to negligence and experience either pain or suffering, individually or combined.
There are no guidelines for determining the value of a malpractice victim’s pain and suffering. A jury cannot look at a chart to figure out how much to award for pain and suffering. In most states, judges simply instruct juries to use their good sense, background, and experience in determining what would be a fair and reasonable figure to compensate for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. Because juries are given so little guidance about how to calculate damages for pain and suffering, awards of pain and suffering damages can vary widely among plaintiffs with similar injuries.
Taking an active role in your own care can help you avoid being a victim of negligence in a fast passed emergency room. Answer all questions honestly and be clear about any past medical care including any medications, both prescription and over-the-counter that you are taking. Once discharged ask for a copy of the medical record and test results and have the attending doctor detail your treatment plan.

When you’re faced with any kind of legal action, the decision to hire an attorney or go it alone and represent yourself is one that should be weighed very carefully. In particular, you might focus on two key questions: What is at stake? And how complex is the legal territory? Let’s look at both of those questions in the context of a medical malpractice case.

Damages from pain and suffering are, therefore, subjective. There is no formula and certainly no standardized calculation for pain and suffering. It is the job of the jury (or the judge if there is no jury) to determine what is fair and reasonable, which they will often do based on their own life experiences. The jury will consider whether the plaintiff is credible and sympathetic. This subjectivity means that damages from pain and suffering can vary tremendously from case to case -- even if the underlying injury is the same.
Not true! There are thousands of physicians sued successfully every year without ending in the loss of their licenses or practices. Although your doctor will have to spend some time defending the suit, throughout the process he will most likely still be able to see his patients and conduct his life as normal. Furthermore, after the conclusion of the suit, he will most likely go back to treating his patients – albeit, hopefully, more carefully this time.
Calitz explains that to bring a successful medical malpractice claim, you need to prove that the treatment you received deviated from a particular “standard of care”, and that it was the deviation (which can be an act or omission) from this standard that resulted in harm. The “standard of care” is defined as what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.
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However, if you were threatened or assaulted and then miscarried your baby, or were hospitalized because of a panic attack, your mental and emotional anguish is more apparent. Other physical signs of emotional distress might be ulcers or headaches. Also, it’s best if a doctor’s note is provided, from a doctor or psychologist, to support each claim.
Significantly, your attorney can only use these examples of loss to illustrate your injuries if you provide it to him or her. If your case is in litigation you will most likely sit for a deposition (your testimony given under oath before a court reporter who is taking down questions directed to you by the defense attorney and your responses). In preparing for your deposition, your attorney may ask you to explain how this accident has affected your life. Be ready to give real life examples so that your attorney can best advocate on your behalf.
Delayed diagnosis—if a doctor fails to diagnose a medical condition that a reasonable doctor in the same situation would have diagnosed, they would be negligent. The question then becomes whether the failure to diagnose caused any injury or loss to the patient. Sometimes, a delay in diagnosis can mean the difference between being curing or not curing the condition. Other times, a delay in diagnosis may not have made a difference. In that case, the patient could not recover anything from the doctor. 
A large number of medical malpractice lawsuits stem from the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition, illness, or injury. When a doctor's diagnosis error leads to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all, a patient's condition can be made much worse, and they may even die. That being said, a mistake in diagnosis by itself is not enough to sustain a medical malpractice lawsuit.

If you have had emotional distress and sought counseling or treatment from a psychologist or psychiatrist, be sure and keep medical bills, prescription receipts, and records detailing your emotional state. It is important to be as genuine and honest as possible, even though it can be difficult to reveal private, personal information, There is no point in exaggerating your problems, as this can diminish your credibility and actually negatively affect your claim worth.
When deciding whether to file a medical malpractice claim, it's important to find out how much time you have to legally bring the claim. All civil claims, including medical malpractice cases, have time limits as to when they must be filed. These limits, called “statutes of limitations,” require you to file your claim within a certain time period from when the injury occurred, or risk waiving your rights to recover money for your injuries.

The accuracy of information provided on this site is not guaranteed. It is generic information for informal purposes only. It is NOT formal legal advice. Your use of this site does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Consult with a licensed attorney in your state before relying on any information found on this site. If you are currently represented by an attorney, you should strictly abide by his/her counsel.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.
Is our situation unique? According to the MPS report, in the United States there have been two waves of legal reforms prompted by medical malpractice claims: one in the mid-80s and another in the early 2000s. Reforms were driven by an increase in insurance premiums and concerns about access to health care. Since 2000, 29 states in the US have introduced limitations on damages; some limit both “economic” and “general” damages (compensation for pain and suffering), while others cap only general damages.
Generally, you must start a malpractice lawsuit within 2 years of when the malpractice occurred. This is called the limitation period. More precisely, it’s within 2 years of when a reasonable person would realize that they suffered an injury from a doctor’s actions and the court system is the right place to seek a remedy. Even if you’re well during this time, you should act quickly—while witnesses are still available and their memories are fresh. This is the general rule, but there are exceptions when the 2-year limitation period starts running at a different time. You would need to speak to a lawyer about this.
When suing a hospital or a doctor, you usually seek to recover past and future medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses. But you can also seek compensation for pain and suffering. Generally, a person can pursue a claim for pain and suffering when they are injured due to negligence and experience either pain or suffering, individually or combined.
Before you sue your doctor for medical malpractice, take some time to consider whether you believe your case meets the threshold for a medical malpractice claim. Did your doctor breach the medical standard of care and did that breach cause you to suffer damages? Be honest with yourself. But for your doctor’s breach of the standard of care, would your injuries have occurred? If your answers are “yes” and “no” to those questions, your case may have a shot. If you can allege, with expert support, that your doctor breached the standard of care, and but for his breach your injuries would not have occurred, your case will likely not be immediately dismissed.
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