What can I recover from a medical malpractice lawsuit?
There are two types of damages that are recoverable in any medical malpractice case. These are general or non-economic damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.) and economic damages (loss of earnings, medical expenses, etc.). Medical malpractice caps are the statutory limits placed on the amount of money a victim of medical malpractice or negligence can recover through a legal case. These medical malpractice caps often apply irrespective of whether the recovery was determined by arbitration, settlement or judgment.
Current medical malpractice caps on victim recovery can vary by the type of damages sought and a state's laws. Medical malpractice caps typically involve the maximum amount of recovery a victim can receive for non-economic damages. Some states do not have medical malpractice caps for the damages sought by a medical malpractice or negligence victim. Other states only cap the punitive damages.
Economic damages are not limited, but depend on the facts of each case. If a plaintiff has a permanent injury that requires ongoing medical or nursing care, there is no artificial limit to what that plaintiff can claim or recover. Because of the high cost of medical care, a case that seeks recovery for past and future medical expenses can easily exceed seven figures. Another form of economic damages is the loss of earnings. Loss of earnings are recoverable in wrongful death cases in which the heirs of the decedent were dependent on the decedent for income and in severe injury cases in which the injury to a plaintiff will affect their ability to earn money in the future, even if they have no prior earnings history.