Medical malpractice cases are some of the most complex personal injury cases you'll ever come across. Part of the reason for this is that the typical medical malpractice injury settlement amounts to thousands of dollars, sometimes even millions. The average medical malpractice settlement amount in the United States is $200,000.
It was much easier to win medical malpractice claims years ago than it is now. This is because of the introduction of certain policies that have changed how medical malpractice cases are adjudicated. For example, many patients are now more aware of their rights.
There has also been an increase in the number of medical malpractice claims filed over the past few years. As a result, most insurance companies have increased their premiums for healthcare providers to cover the risk of medical malpractice lawsuits. And as expected, many healthcare providers have raised concerns over the increased premiums, prompting various states to introduce policies that make it much more difficult to prove medical malpractice.
How to Determine the Value of a Medical Malpractice Case
No amount of settlement is perfect for a medical malpractice case. This is because it's impossible to replace lost time or physical capacity with money. But that said, it's also important to ensure that the compensation awarded to the victims of medical malpractice is fair enough.
It is fair in the sense that it can help them cope with the financial challenges that derive from their new medical condition. For instance, if they cannot seek employment due to a disability caused by medical malpractice, this compensation should help cover the costs of living without employment.
The following factors come into play when calculating the value of a medical malpractice claim,
The victim may seek compensation for medical bills arising from the injury. This may include current and future medical expenses. However, to receive compensation for such expenses, the plaintiff must prove their validity in the form of medical statements and receipts. The same also applies to future medical bills - the plaintiff will need an official medical report explaining the kind of medical treatment they'll need in the future due to the medical malpractice.
This further explains the importance of keeping medical records after the injury. It will be much more difficult to convince the jury or the defense that you need compensation for medical expenses without such records.
Cost of Care
Some injuries require short-term or long-term care. Either way, you deserve to be compensated for any care you'll need as a result of the injury. Whether you'll need a caregiver or an in-home nurse, you deserve compensation.
Remember, you must also prove that you'll need specialized care if it's part of your claim. However, in most cases, a doctor's statement may be all you need to prove that you need the services of a caregiver, nurse, or any other professional to help you recover from or manage the effects of the injury.
Cost of Accommodation
Some injuries can completely change the victim's life. For example, some victims may need a wheelchair temporarily or permanently. For this reason, the costs of accommodating the new changes should be covered by the defendant if found guilty of the injury. This may include expenses such as setting up a wheelchair ramp outside the house, bathroom handles for extra support, and so on.
Cost of Medical Equipment
If the victims need any special equipment to help them recover from or manage the effects of the injury, this cost may be included in the medical malpractice claim. Examples of such equipment include wheelchairs, special beds, and Hoyer lifts.
The above costs are usually referred to as economic damages. However, the jury can also award the plaintiff non-economic damages such as:
Pain and Suffering
Compensation for pain and suffering covers any mental or physical pain suffered due to the injury. The multiplier method is the most common technique to calculate pain and suffering.
When using this method, the plaintiff adds all 'special damages' and multiplies the result by a number, usually between 1.5 and 5. The higher the multiplier, the more severe the pain and suffering. However, the multiplier method is not generally considered accurate -different attorneys can find conflicting results when calculating pain and suffering.
Loss of Relationships
The plaintiff can also be awarded compensation for losing relationships with their families. For example, they may be entitled to compensation if they can no longer take their kids for soccer practice due to the injury or hang out with their friends after work for Monday night football.
The spouse of the injured individual can also file a standalone loss of consortium claim. This claim alleges that the spouse and the injured individual can no longer participate in certain activities together, such as romantic relations, due to the injury.