What Losses Can Be Compensated in a Medical Malpractice Case?
- April 7, 2016
As a patient, New York law entitles you to expect a certain standard of care. Health care professionals are obligated to provide you care that complies with accepted practice in the community; as a general rule, as a patient, you can typically expect your doctor not to do more harm than good.
But, what happens when doctors make mistakes? This can – and does – happen, and many people would be surprised to learn just how common it is for physicians and surgeons to make critical errors while treating their patients. When doctors make mistakes, their patients can often seek financial compensation through a claim for medical malpractice.
Damages Available to Victims of Medical Malpractice
In medical malpractice cases, patients’ compensable losses fall into two primary categories: Economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages cover the patient’s financial losses. This includes not only losses sustained prior to the filing of the patient’s lawsuit, but anticipated future losses, as well. In medical malpractice cases, economic losses generally include:
- Medical expenses incurred as a result of the mistake
- Therapy, rehabilitation, prescription, and other treatment-related expenses
- Lost wages due to time missed from work
- Lost future earning capacity as a result of a disabling illness or injury
The purpose of an economic damages award is to compensate the harmed patient for his or her actual, measurable losses. As you might expect, one of the most challenging aspects of calculating economic damages is forecasting the costs of future treatment – which, in some cases, may continue for the rest of the patient’s life. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will work with trusted physicians and other experts in order to accurately calculate an appropriate economic damages award.
The second category of compensable losses in a medical malpractice case is noneconomic damages. As the name suggests, noneconomic damages cover the patient’s losses that are not strictly financial in nature. Along with medical expenses and lost income, medical malpractice victims often suffer physical and emotional harm, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Loss of the ability to have biological children
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
While some states have laws that cap the amount of noneconomic damages that medical malpractice victims can recover, New York does not have such a cap in place. As a result, with the help of an experienced attorney, medical malpractice victims in New York can recover full compensation for all of their losses stemming from a doctor’s mistake.
Speak with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Poughkeepsie or Wappingers Falls, NY
At Stenger, Diamond & Glass LLP, we represent medical malpractice victims and their families throughout the Hudson Valley region. If you believe that you or a loved one may be suffering as a result of a medical mistake, we encourage you to call (866) 290-6929 or contact us online for a free consultation.