The most common kind of damage awards in medical malpractice lawsuits are compensatory. This is money paid for actual injury or loss. This includes medical and hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, physical therapy, ambulance expenses, prescription drugs, nursing home care, domestic services,medical equipment, lost employment income, increased living expenses, and loss of future income. The latter is much more difficult to assess. If the doctor injured Bill Gates, the doctor will pay much more in compensation for lost earnings than if the injury was to someone who is poor or retired.
The settlement a person receives for their pain and suffering depends on many factors. This includes the severity of the injury, type of medical treatment received, the length of recovery time, and potential long term consequences of the personal injuries. In addition to physical pain, claimants can also cite emotional and psychological trauma in their pain and suffering claims. For example, a visible scar on the face can lead to painful feelings of constant embarrassment and insecurity.
Most doctors have their patients’ best interest in mind, but there are some who – by greed or neglect – fail to put patients first. Individuals who discover a delayed, missed, or wrong diagnosis may want to speak to a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer about their rights and ability to hold a negligent physician accountable for health outcomes, pain, and suffering.
Plaintiffs can also sue for the negligent infliction of severe emotional distress that they experienced because of someone else’s injury. This types of suit occur sometimes when a person has to witness the injury or death of a loved one caused by another person’s negligence. However, to succeed on such a claim one must be able to prove that their distress was an immediate and foreseeable result of the defendant’s behavior. In addition, the plaintiff generally must physically witness the accident in order to be able to recover for this type of claim.
Generally, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney if you can. An attorney will know how to navigate the legal system, will know the substantive considerations for your lawsuit, and will take a significant amount of work off of your plate. However, if you cannot afford an attorney or, for other reasons, absolutely must file and prosecute your lawsuit on your own it is possible. You can find additional resources to help you through this process throughout our site at HG.org.
3. Expect that the case will be quick and cheap. Although experienced lawyers will take on viable cases on a “contingency basis”, you will likely be expected to front the costs of initial medical opinion(s) and record gathering. Be prepared for no less than $5,000 and as much as $15,000 to get started. If the investigation is favourable, most lawyers will pay the freight from this point to the end of the case.
If you have been injured in a car accident or by some other personal injury, don’t wait to seek counsel from an attorney. Be aware there is a statute of limitations and a lawsuit must be filed within a set time limit; if you wait too long, you may not be entitled to any insurance settlement. Also, personal injury statutes and laws are very different from laws for worker’s compensation, and the laws vary from state to state, so be sure to seek legal counsel concerning your injury.
The injury may also result in limiting your normal activities, especially if you are disabled. You may not be able to take care of your household responsibilities, such as cooking and cleaning or pursue hobbies like gardening or bicycling, caring for your children, or having intimate relations with your spouse. Take time daily and list the way your injuries have affected both your lifestyle and emotional well-being, along with the hardships you have encountered.
These types of witnesses are inherently biased in that they clearly care about you and would presumably never testify in a manner that would undermine your claim. The defense will often attack witnesses that are related to you either by blood or marriage by suggesting to the jury just that—the witnesses are inherently bias. Therefore, oftentimes the best before and after witnesses are those people who do not have any personal stake in the litigation. These can be employers or co-workers—individuals who are not a “friend” who may be bias, but rather people who see the injury victim on a nearly everyday basis and can provide firsthand knowledge regarding the affect the injuries have had on the person.
One attorney wrote to us that my Dad’s age was above the average life expectancy, and therefore it “seriously reduces the damages likely to be awarded for loss of future life earnings. Certainly this does not excuse the poor care he received but this makes the case economically untenable as the expenses will likely eat up the majority of likely recoverable damages. We do not have punitive damages in Washington (state) that an outraged jury could award to punish the Dr. and Hospital for their callousness. For these reasons our firm does not wish to undertake this case.”
In most cases of medical negligence, you can only file a lawsuit with your doctor. Since most doctors are independent contractors, the hospital or facility is usually not liable. Sometimes other related health care professionals can be sued if they contributed to causing you harm. These professionals include nurses, lab techs or other medical specialists.
Medical malpractice cases are generally sought by patients who have been harmed or injured due to poor medical treatment or mistaken diagnosis from a medical provider such as a doctor, nurse, technician, hospital or medical worker. Typically, the measure of whether a medical provider was “negligent,” or failed to provide proper care, turns on whether the patient would have received the same standard of care from another medical provider under similar circumstances.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you may wish to file a formal claim with the offending doctor’s insurance company. Certainly, the doctor may be unwilling to provide you with insurance information, or you may require the assistance of an attorney to make a claim, but in some jurisdictions (particularly those without damage caps) you may find that an insurance company is willing to negotiate a settlement prior to a formal suit being filed. The expense and potential fallout of a formal, public lawsuit is a risk insurance companies are often unwilling to take.
Many people don’t bring a meritorious lawsuit against their doctor because of fear concerning family and friends. Only you can decide for yourself whether bringing a lawsuit against your physician is the right thing for you to do. Only you know the pain and suffering that you have endured – nobody else. Only you know the extent of your lost wages, medical bills, and injury.
“There are no easy answers, but there are a number of practical steps that can bring stability to an ailing industry,” he says. “In my view, mediation is one of the best options we have available to us and it should be promoted and embraced (by plaintiffs and defendants) more widely. Mediation is inherently a process of reconciliation as opposed to litigation, which is adversarial (and unpleasant).
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).
The doctor's negligence caused the injury. Because many malpractice cases involve patients that were already sick or injured, there is often a question of whether what the doctor did, negligent or not, actually caused the harm. For example, if a patient dies after treatment for lung cancer, and the doctor did do something negligent, it could be hard to prove that the doctor's negligence caused the death rather than the cancer. The patient must show that it is "more likely than not" that the doctor's incompetence directly caused the injury. Usually, the patient must have a medical expert testify that the doctor's negligence caused the injury.
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