There are many legal dictionaries out there and all of them will define “damages” in a similar fashion. One dictionary defines damages as, “monetary compensation which the law awards to one who has been injured by the action of another.”
This experienced Kingston medical malpractice attorney is satisfied with this definition, but it still leaves some questions unanswered. Let us rephrase the definition. Damages are money that a victim asks the court to make a wrongdoer pay.
How does the victim ask for damages? Are there different types of damages? How does the court determine the amount of money to give the victim? These are all valid questions that many injured patients routinely ask medical malpractice attorneys.
The victim of a doctor’s negligence files a law suit against the bad doctor. The court will need to know what the victim claims for damages. The victim’s attorney will communicate that to the court. Before doing so, the experienced attorney will calculate the amount owed to the victim. The damages will fall into two main categories within which many types of injuries fall.
The two main categories are known as economic damages and non economic damages. Economic damages are about financial losses. The doctor negligently harmed the patient and the patient lost income from not being able to work. The patient had to pay medical bills. Lost earning potential if the victim cannot return to work and make as much as he used to make is another example. In general, any necessary expense that the victim had to pay, within reason, as a result of the injury caused by the negligent doctor.
Economic damages are easier to calculate because paper documentation can back it up; receipts, bills, the victim’s salary, and the like all have easily verifiable documentation. Non economic damages are much different and are harder to calculate.
For example, pain and suffering is a non economic damage. How does one put a dollar figure on that? Well, the length of time suffering in pain will impact the amount. But also, attorneys will look at previous cases to see what courts and juries have given to other victims of medical malpractice.
Other examples of non economic damages are: lost companionship; lost enjoyment of life; disfigurement; even the injury alone has a monetary value attached to it. The victim’s spouse can even make a claim for what is called, “loss of consortium”. This is a non economic damage that compensates the spouse for losing the comfort, intimacy, and affection of his/her relationship with the victim.
The amount medical malpractice victims will vary from case to case, but many injured patients have received millions of dollars in damages.
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.