We expect doctors, nurses, and other medical providers to do what’s best for us. When we’re injured or sick, we expect health care professionals to perform procedures correctly, diagnose illnesses accurately, and prescribe appropriate treatments and medications. Unfortunately, even the most highly skilled medical professionals can make mistakes, and these errors sometimes have catastrophic results for patients and their families. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional’s mistake is particularly egregious, and the patient suffers injury or damage at the hands of a doctor, surgeon, dentist, pharmacist, or other medical professional who has failed to follow accepted standards of practice or provide adequate treatment.
When a medical professional fails to follow policies and procedures or to exercise the proper degree of care and skill when delivering health care services, the affected patient may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the patient’s lawsuit is successful, he or she may be entitled to damages, which are designed to compensate for losses caused by the malpractice. If you’ve been harmed at the hands of a medical professional, you should contact a personal injury attorney for assistance as soon as possible. In this article, we examine the types of damages that can be recovered in a medical malpractice case.
Types of Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases in Florida
A patient may be entitled to a variety of damages to help offset the cost of medical bills and other financial consequences associated with medical malpractice. Although every case is different, your personal injury attorney will review your case and determine the damages to which you may be entitled if your case is successful. Victims of medical malpractice in Florida may be eligible for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are objective, verifiable financial losses resulting from a medical malpractice claim. Economic damages can include practically any quantifiable and reimbursable expense. Economic damages can be proven by presenting hospital bills, insurance bills, paychecks, and other transactional statements that demonstrate the amount a victim paid or would have earned if the malpractice had not occurred. Economic damages in medical malpractice cases can be significant because patients often accumulate multiple medical expenses and miss large amounts of work—assuming they are able to return to their jobs at all. Common types of economic damages include:
- Medical Bills: Medical bills often make up the largest portion of the financial compensation received by victims of medical malpractice. Surgical costs, diagnostic visits, follow-up appointments, prescription medications, physical therapy, and mobility equipment are all examples of medical expenses. In addition, patients often require medical care far into the future following a medical malpractice injury, so these future expenses are also frequently compensable.
- Lost Wages and Income: Many medical malpractice patients are no longer capable of working. Therefore, in a medical malpractice lawsuit, patients can receive compensation for lost wages and income.
- Transportation Expenses: Patients who have been injured as a result of medical malpractice frequently have to travel extensively to receive treatment. Negligent health care professionals are often required to compensate patients for travel expenses incurred as a result of medical malpractice.
- Home Renovations: Medical malpractice injuries can take a long time to recover from. Others leave patients with permanent disabilities that impact their mobility or cognitive functions. It’s not uncommon for serious injuries to necessitate home modifications to accommodate a disability. Home renovation expenses incurred as a result of medical malpractice are often available to medical malpractice victims, ranging from widened doors to wheelchair ramp installations.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate than economic damages because they do not involve direct financial losses. However, these types of damages are just as valid as economic damages. Non-economic damages in Florida medical malpractice cases commonly include:
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering damages compensate patients for the physical pain and mental anguish that they suffer due to a medical professional’s negligent actions.
- Emotional distress: Emotional distress damages compensate victims of medical malpractice for the psychological impact their injuries have had on their daily lives.
- Loss of consortium: Due to their injuries, medical malpractice victims are often denied the benefits of certain familial relationships, including affection and sexual relations.
- Disfigurement: When medical malpractice results in scars, severe abrasions, cuts, or other forms of physical disfigurement, victims may receive additional compensation.
- Loss of enjoyment: Loss of enjoyment, also called loss of enjoyment of life, refers to the ways in which a medical malpractice injury impacts a patient’s quality of life, causing him or her to receive less enjoyment from the things he or she was able to do prior to the accident.
Finally, punitive damages are intended to punish and deter actions that go beyond simple negligence. These types of damages are often available when a medical professional’s actions were particularly egregious. Punitive damages do not compensate victims for any specific loss. Rather, they are meant to punish the wrongdoer.
Get Help From Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you’ve been injured as a result of a health care provider’s negligence, Harrell & Harrell, P.A., is here for you. At Harrell & Harrell, P.A., our knowledgeable and experienced medical malpractice attorneys are well qualified to evaluate your case and proceed appropriately. If you suspect you have been the victim of medical malpractice, please contact us today to schedule a free consultation. To get started, please contact us online or by phone at 251-1111.