We trust doctors and other medical professionals with our health. We come to them for treatment and guidance about our health struggles. When doctors provide substandard care, it is not an overstatement to say that lives are put at risk. Negligent medical care can have serious and lasting consequences for a person’s health and wellbeing. The law recognizes the importance of the duty of care doctors owe to their patients and it also recognizes that patients deserve to be compensated when doctors fail to uphold this duty and patients suffer harm as a result. Through a medical malpractice claim, a victim of negligent medical care can seek compensation for the damages they have sustained as a result of the substandard care they received. Here, we will go into more detail about what damages are available in a medical malpractice claim.
Available Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim
In a medical malpractice claim as with other personal injury claims, a claimant can seek compensation for losses they have suffered due to the negligence of another. Compensatory damages often make up the bulk of personal injury claims and these are damages that are supposed to compensate the injured party for the losses they have suffered. The goal of compensatory damages is to set them back in a place they would have been had the negligence leading to their injury never have occurred.
Economic damages will make up a significant portion of a compensatory damage award. Economic damages include those easily quantifiable damages such as medical expenses. Medical expenses, of course, can be determined based on medical bills incurred due to the person seeking treatment for the injuries or harm they suffered. Other economic damages include things like lost wages or loss of future earning capacity, both of which can be based on things like salary and proof of wages. The cost of future medical care and other damages are also included in the economic damages category.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are much more difficult to quantify. How do you put a number on the pain someone has endured because of the injuries they sustained due to negligent medical care? Non-economic damages most prominently include pain and suffering damages. Loss of enjoyment of life and other very real damages that are difficult to quantify are also included in this category and are available in medical malpractice claims.
It is important to note that, while most states have laws that place limits on the amount of damages available in a medical malpractice claim, New York is one of the few states that does not have any such limits. This means that New York does not limit the amount of economic, non-economic, or punitive damages available in medical malpractice claims. Many other states have limits on punitive damages or non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.