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Patients who suffer consequences as a result of a doctor’s incompetence or negligence can receive awards for damages. The types of damages that they can receive vary depending on the courts in their area and their particular circumstances.
Not all attempts to provide medical care succeed, and not all negative outcomes are malpractice. A court will typically find that something was malpractice if it injured the patient in some significant way and the medical professional involved did not follow best practices. Doctors, nurses, and other professionals are held to higher standards than a regular person who might attempt to render first aid, for example. They are responsible for knowing the right procedures and for foreseeable consequences from administering a drug or recommending a surgery, any type of medical device, or an implant.
Cost of Medical Bills
Medical malpractice often creates more medical expense for the patient, as more medical procedures may be necessary to correct the surgery or procedures which weren’t done right in the first place. As these expenses are often significant, these costs can be awarded to a patient or family member who wins a case. An experienced malpractice attorney can help ensure that all of these expenses are considered when asking for an amount.
Lost Quality of Life
The pain, inconvenience, and loss of quality of life is often considered when awarding a patient damages. Arriving at an appropriate amount for these kinds of damages often involves factors like the patient’s age, the degree of permanent or temporary disability incurred, and the extent of the pain that the patient is expected to endure because of the malpractice. This is naturally very difficult to quantify, so you need an experienced attorney to help determine what amount is appropriate to ask for. Some states only allow a maximum amount to be awarded on these kinds of damages.
Patients who have experienced malpractice are often justifiably angry about receiving care that was substandard. Punitive damages rise to a different level. It’s not enough for a physician simply to have made a mistake. They must have performed a procedure while knowing that it would cause unnecessary pain and suffering. For example, if a cancer specialist were to perform chemotherapy or surgery on a patient that they knew didn’t need it, because they were in remission, this situation would call for punitive damages. These situations are relatively rare, but they do happen, because doctors have financial incentives to perform procedures.
Malpractice awards vary widely based on the circumstances that you or your loved one endured. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL can advise you about your options.
Thanks to Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. for their insight into medical malpractice and types of damages.