Damages in medical malpractice cases—as in other personal injury and tort law cases—fall into two broad categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages cover your actual financial losses attributable to the malpractice injuries you sustained, including:
- Past and future lost wages
- Past and future medical expenses
While this may seem fairly straightforward, proper calculation and valuation of things like future lost wages and future medical expenses may involve specialized experts like economists, actuaries, medical experts and occupational therapists. Additionally, once your malpractice attorney’s experts have done their analysis of your probable future lost wages and your probable medical expenses, the defense’s experts will want to conduct their own interviews and examinations to create their own, much lower, estimate of your losses.
Non-economic damages cover a broad range of intangibles, including:
- Mental distress and suffering
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of ability to enjoy life’s pleasures
- Disfigurement, like scarring or amputation
- Loss of consortium, or loss of the value of companionship in a marriage
These damages are harder to quantify, and usually depend less on the research and testimony of expert witnesses and more on the honest testimony of your friends and family. Unfortunately, Maryland law caps non-economic damage awards to medical malpractice victims, regardless of the severity of the injury and the extent of the limitations and intrusion into the victim’s life.
How much your case will settle for depends on a complex interaction between the severity of your injury, your age, your work history, and how the whole thing has affected your life. Consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to get a better idea of what your case might be worth.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.