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How Much is Your Medical Malpractice Case Worth?

Most clients want to know how much their medical malpractice case is worth; however, that is a difficult question to answer even for the most experienced medical malpractice attorney. For example, if the client comes to the attorney early in the case (as you should in any type of personal injury case), the extent of the patient’s injuries may not yet be fully known. Furthermore, until the full extent of the patient’s injuries is determined, it is difficult for the attorney to begin to analyze the future economic loss the patient will suffer due to the injuries.

Therefore, a Sacramento medical malpractice attorney will typically review the types of damages that a client may recover in a medical malpractice case as a way to illustrate what the value of the medical malpractice case may be depending on certain circumstances and situation. There are typically two types of damages that you may receive in a medical malpractice claim: compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are designed to compensate the injured party for the actual damages he or she has suffered due to the injury. Many attorneys refer to compensatory damages as damages intended to make the victim “whole” again after the accident. While no amount of money can undo the effects of the injury, compensatory damages are intended to return the victim to as close to his standard or life before the accident as possible. Compensatory damages are divided into two sections: economic losses and non-economic losses.

Economic losses include the out-of-pocket losses that the victim has sustained in regard to the medical malpractice. These types of damages include medical costs, funeral expenses, lost wages, nursing assistance, physical therapy, medical equipment and prescription medicines. These types of damages are easy to calculate because you have a specific dollar amount associated with each expenses. Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify in terms of monetary value; however, an experienced Sacramento medical malpractice attorney has the knowledge and expertise to value these types of damages.

Non-economic damages includes pain and suffering, psychological anguish, loss of companionship or consortium, inconvenience, future medical treatments, future lost wages, lost earning capacity and permanent impairment, disfigurement or disability. An experienced Sacramento medical malpractice attorney will utilize the testimony of expert witnesses to place a value on non-economic damages so that the jury can place a value on these damages to award to the victim.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not available in every case. The plaintiff must prove that doctor or medical provider acted fraudulently, wantonly, willfully, maliciously, in bad faith or with a conscious indifference to the potential consequences of his or her actions. If the plaintiff is able to prove that the doctor’s negligence went beyond normal negligence into the realm of wanton and willful, he or she may be able to collect damages in an amount to be determined by the jury. Punitive damages are intended to punish the behavior of the doctor or medical provider in hopes of deterring that type of behavior again from that specific medical provider or others.

If there is a chance a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice, contact a Sacramento medical malpractice attorney immediately.