In all medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff must prove that: the doctor was treating the patient; the doctor breached his duty to the patient; the breach harmed the patient; and that the patient suffered damages. Moreover, much of this must be proven by expert testimony, especially when proving the standard of care that the doctor should have provided.
The experienced Kingston medical malpractice attorney will have a tough battle on each of these points. Proving and collecting damages poses unique challenges and there exist many common issues regarding damages in civil court.
Damages is a legal term that refers to monetary compensation. It is the award that the court gives to the plaintiff as recompense for the injuries caused by the offending doctor, making the victim “whole” again. It includes compensation for direct, and even indirect, losses that are the result of the doctor’s mistakes.
Each state in the Union regulates damages in some way or another. Some states restrict monetary awards. New York, however, places no limit on the amount a plaintiff can receive from a negligent doctor; the sky is the limit. The amount, however, does need to be justified.
The costs of medical care that were not covered by insurance are easier to prove. Medical bills provide the support. Such is typical for all forms of economic damages. Non economic damages, such as pain and suffering is a bit trickier to prove. But rest assured, patients’ pain and suffering will be included in the monetary award. The length of time suffering in pain will affect the amount of the award. The severity of the patient’s injuries factor into compensation levels too. Many other factors will be considered as well, including especially heinous acts committed by the doctor.
Although rare, punitive damages can be given to the plaintiff if the offending doctor acted willfully, wantonly, and or maliciously when harming the patient. Giving punitive damages to the patient is the court’s way of punishing the doctor. It also deters future malicious conduct.
Since every patient must consent to the treatment that he or she receives from a doctor, patients should know that granting consent for the treatment does not mean that a victim cannot sue the negligent doctor. When consenting to treatment, the patient is merely saying that the doctor has permission to complete the recommended medical care. It is not consent to allow the doctor to commit negligence and it does not waive a doctor’s liability for his or her mistakes.
In conclusion, while the above talks about mistakes by doctors, many types of medical professionals can be sued on charges of medical malpractice; nurses, technicians, assistants, dentists, and podiatrists, among many others.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.