Every medical malpractice claim is unique in some aspect when all material facts are evaluated. Each case is filed using specific claims by the injured plaintiff based on particular treatment actions of the respondent medical entity. Sometimes it is a physician, and sometimes the negligent respondent is a treatment facility. And, many times it is both.
All malpractice lawyers understand that the actual injuries and the long-term implications of the malpractice issue are what really matters in a medical malpractice claim, and ensuring their injured clients are compensated in whole is the mission.
Because of this wide potential for settlement outcome, there is no actual average for medical malpractice lawsuit settlements. But, there are significant similarities that impact how settlements are determined.
Special damages are the first component of any medical malpractice lawsuit, commonly referenced as compensatory damages. These are the compensation items that can be calculated to an exact number and include recovery for lost wages during the injury period, along with future earnings impact as well. Depending on the employment status of the injured party at the time of the injury, this damage amount can vary greatly.
General damages for non-economic pain-and-suffering can be more difficult to calculate because they are based on the imposition a medical malpractice injury will put on the remaining life of the injured party, including potential death.
The primary method of determining these amounts is either by a using an assigned multiplier applied to the special damages or assess the living difficulty on a per diem basis.
This is almost always the center of negotiations between malpractice lawyers and respondent insurance companies when trying to arrive at a settlement that could preempt a full trial.
Many states have applied some level of damage limitations that can be sought in medical malpractice legal actions, even in wrongful death situations. Some damages can total the maximum amount quickly when material case facts warrant extensive financial damage awards. Punitive damages could also be available in some injury cases, but the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a maximum factor of nine times compensatory damages is the federal limit for punitive damage calculation in medical malpractice cases.
Each state sets their own standard regarding how much time an injured party has to file a civil lawsuit. This time frame is usually two years, but when that time begins can be a difficult determination. According to most state statutes, a medical malpractice statute of limitations time clock begins when the injured party realizes they have a medical problem. This is why it so important to contact a legal professional as soon as possible when an injury occurs because it could mean the difference in being compensated equitably or not being compensated at all.
Malpractice Lawyers are Essential
All medical malpractice claims are usually defended vigorously by both the respondents and their malpractice insurance providers, and defending legal teams will look for any technicality to avoid paying or lessen the value of a claim. These are always intense negotiations and all injured patients with claims should have their own legal team fighting for a whole damage award whenever possible. Medical malpractice cases can also be complicated, and having experienced legal counsel is vital.