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Saturday, February 29, 2020

What Can You Be Compensated for in a Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you or a loved one has been injured due to negligence on the part of a treating medical professional, you may be able to bring a medical malpractice claim seeking compensation for the harm you have suffered. In New York, health care providers have a duty to use reasonable care under the circumstances when treating patients.

To put this another way, they are obligated to uphold a standard of care when treating patients. This standard of care means that a medical provider must act as a similarly situated medical professional would have acted under similar circumstances. Should a doctor or other health care professional fail to uphold this duty and a patient suffers as a result, the patient may be able to seek compensation pursuant to a medical malpractice claim.

What Can You Be Compensated for in a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Damages refer to the compensation available to a plaintiff for the harm and other losses they have incurred. In medical malpractice, damages are intended to make the victim “whole again” by compensating them for what they have lost as a result of medical negligence. There are different ways to categorize damages. For instance, a plaintiff may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages should they bring a successful medical malpractice claim. Both economic and non-economic damages are often referred to as “compensatory damages.”

Economic damages include those damages that are fairly easy to quantify and calculate. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and costs of future medical care and rehabilitation. Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate and quantify. Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering. While most states have cap on the available amount of non-economic damages in a medical malpractice claim, New York does not have such a cap.

Compensatory damages can also be categorized as actual damages and general damages. Actual damages are those that aim to compensate the plaintiff for out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the injury. Actual damages include things like hospital expenses and other medical expenses, wages lost due to recovery, and cost of medical equipment. General damages include things like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Estimated costs of future medical expenses
  • Estimated future wages lost
  • Estimated loss of future earning capacity

On top of compensatory damages, and in very rare cases, a court may award punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in extraordinary cases where the defendant is found to have been willful or malicious in causing harm to the plaintiff. Again, punitive damages are incredibly rare in medical malpractice cases.

It is also important to be aware of New York’s pure comparative negligence rule. This rule means that if you are found to have played some part in causing your injury or illness, in addition to the responsibility of your medical provider, your damages award will be decreased in proportion to your share of the fault. The court will assign a percentage of fault to all parties and damages will be reduced and allocated accordingly.

Medical Malpractice Attorney

We trust our medical providers with our health. When it shows that this trust has been misplaced as our doctors fail to uphold the duty of care they owe us, it can completely upturn our lives. The pain and injury that can result from medical malpractice can be severe and last indefinitely. That is why the Law Office of Ryan S. Goldstein is here to fight for our clients to be fully and fairly compensated for the harm they have suffered. Contact us today.


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