After suffering an injury caused by medical negligence, a victim will likely wonder what his or her options are for legal recourse. A medical malpractice claim is the best way for a victim of medical negligence to recover his or her losses. No one can firmly calculate exactly how much a medical malpractice case is worth without knowing the specific details of the case. Speak with a medical malpractice lawyer in West Virginia as soon as possible.
Damages in Medical Malpractice Claims
There are generally two types of damages available to plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits: economic damages that repay financial losses resulting from negligence, and non-economic damages that repay a victim’s physical pain and psychological suffering resulting from negligence. If you are curious about the value of your medical malpractice claim, you need to take your damages into account, as well as the cost of pursuing your claim.
Legal representation isn’t cheap, and the attorneys’ fees for handling a medical malpractice lawsuit can be substantial. In some cases, a plaintiff may be able to claim the costs of attorneys’ fees as damages in a lawsuit, so hiring a lawyer not only offers a better degree of representation to the plaintiff but also leads to more compensation than the plaintiff might have received without representation. Once you know how your attorney will bill you for his or her services, you can start estimating the net value of your medical malpractice claim.
The economic damages resulting from medical malpractice typically revolve around the cost of repairing the damage done or ongoing medical care for treating a condition resulting from negligence. For example, a plaintiff who experienced nerve damage after a doctor sliced a nerve-ending during a surgical procedure may experience a loss of sensation or function in the leg. The plaintiff would be able to claim the costs of ongoing physical therapy and rehabilitation until he or she reaches maximum possible recovery.
Other economic damages may include lost income. If a botched medical procedure or an injury caused by medical negligence causes the victim to miss work, he or she can claim the wages lost during that time as economic damages in a medical malpractice claim. If the plaintiff’s injury resulted in catastrophic harm that prevents the plaintiff from working in the future, the plaintiff’s attorney may consult with a financial expert who can explain the extent of the plaintiff’s lost earning capacity to the court.
Expert witnesses will also come into play regarding the plaintiff’s non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Some injuries may appear extremely painful when viewing photographs, but they result in minimal pain and discomfort while other, less obvious injuries are excruciating and require long-term recovery. An expert witness with a medical background in a relevant field can explain to a jury how physically painful and emotionally taxing an injury from medical negligence likely was for a plaintiff.
No exact method of calculating pain and suffering damages exists. Plaintiffs who experience catastrophic injuries and permanent disability from medical negligence will likely receive substantial compensation for these long-term effects and their tendency to diminish enjoyment of life. A jury may award per diem compensation for every day a plaintiff experiences pain until he or she reaches maximum possible recovery.
Some juries may simply multiply the plaintiff’s claimed medical expenses by an amount that reflects the level of pain and suffering they experienced. For example, the jury may decide that the plaintiff’s $50,000 in claimed medical expenses for an extremely painful injury warrant $200,000 or more in pain and suffering damages. Some states cap or limit the amount plaintiffs may receive in non-economic compensation for medical malpractice claims, and a plaintiff’s attorney will advise his or her client of any applicable restrictions.
Ultimately, your West Virginia personal injury lawyer is your best resource for determining the value of your medical malpractice claim. During your initial consultation, your attorney will want to review all the evidence related to your claim to provide you with the most accurate possible estimate of your damages.