Medical Malpractice and Punitive Damages

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Are Punitive Judgments Awarded in Medical Malpractice Cases?

There are three kinds of judgments awarded in medical malpractice cases: general damages, special damages, and punitive damages. A patient needs to prove two things to receive medical damages: that the malpractice caused injury, and that the damage can be measured and repaid by the defendant.

General damages include pain and suffering, both physical and mental; loss of earning capacity; and loss of life enjoyment. Special damages refer to loss of income as a result of the injury, including medical bills, missed work, and future loss of work and medical bills.

Punitive damages are meant to act as punishment to a doctor who acted particularly recklessly or harmfully. To award punitive damages, the doctor must have known he or she was acting harmfully or recklessly.

What is the Limit for Punitive Damage Awards?

Punitive damage amounts are determined by a jury or by the judge presiding over the case. Generally the amount of the damages is a multiple of the determined general damages, and special damages as well, if there are any.

Punitive damage amounts are determined by a jury or by the judge presiding over the case. Generally the amount of the damages is a multiple of the determined general damages, and special damages as well, if there are any.

Some states also mandate a cap on the amount of total damages awarded to a patient, while other states award the amount awarded to the patient by their insurance policies.

Wrongful death statutes and survival statutes are meant to award damages to family members when the malpractice ends in the death of the patient.

How Can I File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

There are particular statutes of limitations to adhere to when deciding whether or not you can file a medical malpractice claim. These vary by state and municipality. It is important to be aware of these when determining whether or not your medical malpractice claim is likely to be successful.

Sometimes, a malpractice case is better filed as a negligence case. If a doctor performed the wrong surgery on a patient, left a wound untreated, or gave incorrect medical advice to a patient, medical malpractice negligence is present.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have been injured as the result of medical malpractice or medical malpractice negligence, it is important to seek legal help from a personal injury attorney right away. An attorney is the only one who can give you legal advice and represent you in court.

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Last Modified: 07-20-2016 10:39 AM PDT

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