Why There Might Be Limits To Your Medical Malpractice Claim

Posted on: 30 April 2020

There is no limit to how much a hospital may be able to bill you in response to a medical treatment that you receive. However, in the majority of states, there is a limit to how much you may sue a doctor for medical malpractice. This limit can vary from state to state, and it's important to know this limit when you seek compensation.

Economic Vs. Non-Economic Damages

When a state has a medical malpractice cap, the courts will not award damages higher than the cap. Oftentimes, the cap only applies to non-economic damages. You would be fully compensated for any medical expenses, but there might be a limit on how much you can be compensated for pain and suffering. Non-economic damages also include loss of enjoyment in life and emotional distress. 

Punitive Damages

Some states also place limits on punitive damages. When a medical practitioner engages in a reckless and dangerous manner, he or she may be forced to pay punitive damages. For example, there might be evidence that the doctor had a poor relationship with you and was deliberately neglecting your medical care as a result.

Catastrophic Vs. Non-Catastrophic Damages

Many states will differentiate between catastrophic and non-catastrophic damages. Catastrophic damages can include those that lead to quadriplegia, damages that lead to the loss of two or more limbs, significant and permanent cognitive impairment, blindness, or the irreversible failure of a major organ.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering refer to the physical and mental suffering you went through as a result of medical malpractice. For example, a mistake made during surgery might lead to you experiencing pain whenever you eat. Even if you only experienced physical pain during the surgery, you may still be entitled to compensation. For example, if you were required to be placed under a painkiller during surgery, but your doctor forgot to administer the painkiller, this would be enough justification for a pain and suffering lawsuit.

Mental and emotional suffering usually results from disfigurement and the loss of function. For example, if you are unable to have a normal sex life after a surgery that went wrong, you may deserve compensation for affecting your enjoyment in life.

Loss of Consortium

The loss of your ability to engage in love and affection is referred to as "loss of consortium." This is something that a loved one could seek compensation for when they lose companionship. In most states, this is meant for those in a romantic relationship. However, some states also include children and parents. If you are not sure how much you may be compensated or which damages might have been eligible, speak with a medical malpractice attorney.