When a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional causes harm to a patient due to negligence, the patient has a right to recover damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice can refer to a wide variety of actions, but many have serious consequences, such as long-term injuries and emotional pain and suffering.
Contacting an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer is the first step a victim should take following serious malpractice. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will help you calculate what your case may be worth and will have a good understanding of how to convey the impact an injury has had on the victim’s life.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you’re most likely wondering what kind of damages are available to you as the plaintiff. Damages, the civil court system’s solution to compensating victims for their losses, can cover a wide range of losses.
Damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit are categorized into two types: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Non-economic Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case
There is no exact formula for calculating non-economic damages, also referred to as general damages. The reason for this is that these damages are more subjective and do not come with a bill, invoice, or receipt.
Non-economic medical malpractice damages are harder to quantify but just as worthy of being awarded as specific damages. Non-economic damages cover the various losses a person may suffer following medical malpractice and often include some of the greatest losses a person can experience, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or anguish
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Reputational damage
- Loss of consortium
- Disability or disfigurement
- Physical impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Worsening of prior injuries
These types of damage are highly subjective and vary from case to case. While many victims suffer the same types of non-economic damages, the value is unique to each victim.
Often, non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases lead to physical manifestations that can also be included in the award calculation. For example, a patient who has suffered from medical malpractice might endure a great deal of stress as a result of the injury. They may develop a stomach ulcer from the stress, which is another injury to consider.
Economic Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case
Economic damages, also referred to as specific damages, compensate victims for measurable losses related to the malpractice.
Usually, economic damages are reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the injury and can be easily claimed with the help of invoices, receipts, bills, etc. However, there are instances where an expert’s opinion will be required to support a request for damages that will arise in the future.
Economic damages in a medical malpractice case might include:
- Lost earnings
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of benefits
- Hospital bills
- Prescription medication costs
- Surgery bills
- Other medical expenses
- Cost of rehabilitation and recovery
Your lawyer will support your claim for economic medical malpractice damages by adding together not only the value of documented expenses but also future losses. For example, if your injury is estimated to take five years of recovery and you will not be able to work, five years of lost earnings are taken into account, including any lost benefits such as sick leave and paid time off. These financial calculations can quickly grow complex as there are a variety of factors to take into consideration.
With the help of experts that your lawyer will turn to in order to calculate the most accurate damages, you’ll be able to seek maximum recovery for your injury and subsequent losses.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Cases
Many states set caps on the total amount a plaintiff can recover in medical malpractice damages. Florida is no exception, as they have a statute capping non-economic damages. However, this cap does not apply to economic damages, past, present, and future.
According to Fla. Stat. § 766.118, Florida also uses different caps depending on the role of the defendant. For example, medical malpractice cases against practitioners are typically capped at $500,000. However, if death or a vegetative state results from the malpractice, the cap goes up to $1 million. Cases against non-practitioners are capped at $750,000 or $1.5 million respectively.
Call a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you have a medical malpractice case, your best chance at maximum recovery is to hire an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer who can accurately assess the value of your damages and help you pursue the justice you deserve.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at (561) 655-1990 to schedule your risk-free, no-obligation case review. We look forward to speaking with you.
No matter where you are, one of our offices can help.