In order to receive damages in a medical malpractice case, the loss must be definable and probable. The loss must also be a result of a medical professional’s misconduct, negligence, or failure to meet a certain standard of care. Damages in a medical malpractice case that cannot be recovered include injuries that did not result from a medical professional’s conduct. Also, if a patient is not harmed by a doctor’s mistake, she cannot recover damages.
There are two types of damages that can be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit: compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory claims are those that seek to compensate the plaintiff for an injury resulting from medical malpractice. Punitive damages, however, cover injuries resulting from a medical professional acting willfully or maliciously in a manner that harmed the patient.
Compensatory damage can further be divided into two kinds: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are defined by actual financial loss due to an injury. This can include medical bills and wages missed as a result of being unable to work. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, cover “pain and suffering.” This kind of damage is more difficult to calculate and can include things such as physical impairment, disability, mental anguish and loss of companionship.
There are limits to the amount of money a medical malpractice plaintiff can be awarded for non-economic damages. They vary by state, though some states have no limit whatsoever.