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What damages does a medical malpractice lawsuit cover?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2015 | Doctor Errors

If you have suffered as a result of medical negligence, you already know how physically and mentally straining the experience can be. According to the Journal of Patient Safety, medical malpractice is responsible for as many as 400,000 premature deaths every year, and studies show that many more injuries occur. No matter if someone has devolved into a worsened condition or dies as a result of the error, there are financial implications involved.

Filing a lawsuit is one way that people may be able to start moving forward after experiencing a medical mistake. There are three types of damages that may be awarded, and those are the following:

  • Special damages – This refers to quantifiable expenses that directly stem from the experience, such as missing work and losing income, incurring medical bills or having to pay for prescriptions.
  • General damages – While just as important, these damages are not as quantifiable as special damages. They include a loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering.
  • Punitive damages – In some cases, a court may choose to add an additional amount to an award to punish the responsible party.

In order to prove a malpractice claim, you will have to demonstrate that negligence occurred and that the mistake caused the additional harm. Further, the patient or, in the case of death, the person’s family, must be able to put some type of price tag on the damages in order to obtain a financial award. According to Massachusetts statute, people must file a lawsuit within three years of the incident.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.