Damages In Medical Malpractice Cases

Damages In Medical Malpractice Cases

An injured patient can win a medical malpractice case, but it means little unless he or she recovers a sufficient damages award. A damages award is the essence of justice in a medical negligence suit, as it compensates the victim for the resulting injuries.

Two types of damages may be available in an Ohio medical malpractice case: compensatory damages and punitive damages. You need a skilled attorney to help you determine what specific damages your particular suit may involve, but we've assembled an explanative page that should help you understand damage awards in Ohio medical malpractice cases.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are designed to make a medical malpractice victim "whole" after unfairly suffering injuries. In reality, you really can't make a plaintiff whole again in many medical malpractice cases. When medical negligence causes something like a cancer misdiagnosis, a lawsuit cannot undo the harm suffered by the patient and his or her family.

Instead, Ohio permits malpractice victims to try to quantify the harm they've suffered in monetary damages. This process, known as damage valuation, is vital to ensuring that the plaintiff receives the money damages that he or she rightfully deserves under Ohio law.

Compensatory damages involve two subcategories: damages for economic loss (actual damages) and noneconomic loss (general damages).

  • Economic loss may include lost wages, hospital and medical bills, nursing assistance, physical therapy, prescription drug costs, and the cost of medical equipment such as a wheelchair.
  • Noneconomic losses are less straightforward, but examples include pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of consortium, resulting disabilities and disfigurement, and the cost of future lost wages or medical expenses.

Because a court will not award damages that are too speculative, it's crucial for a plaintiff to have an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to help prove them.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages usually aren't awarded in Ohio medical malpractice lawsuits, but there may be unusual circumstances where they're warranted. Unlike compensatory damages, the purpose of punitive damages is to financially punish the defendant for egregious behavior involving the malpractice and to deter other parties from acting similarly.

To receive punitive damages, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant acted with more than just negligence - a difficult thing to prove.

Below are factors a court may consider when an injured plaintiff seeks punitive damages:

  • Failure to get patient's informed consent [future link] before procedure
  • Fraud or misrepresentation concerning surgery
  • Forging or altering medical documents
  • Intentional disregard of state or federal patient safety laws

While Ohio courts rarely award punitive damages in medical malpractice cases, it's important to have a skilled lawyer who recognizes situations in which this remedy may be available.

Discuss Medical Malpractice Damages With An Ohio Attorney

The above information is a general overview of damages that may be available. It's wise to discuss your claim with an experienced Ohio medical malpractice lawyer to best understand what types of damages may be available to you and your family.

For a free consultation with a skilled attorney, contact The Donahey Law Firm at 866-918-5886 or email us.