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Sunday, September 19, 2021

What Damages Can You Recover in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Medical malpractice claims exist because health care providers owe patients a duty to exercise reasonable care in their treatment of them. When a health care provider is negligent and provides substandard care, patients can be seriously injured or experience a substantial decline in already existing medical conditions. To be compensated for the harm sustained, the patient can file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

In order to successfully bring a medical malpractice claim, the injured party must be able to prove that the medical provider acted in a way that failed to uphold the standards of the medical community and that this, in turn, caused the patient harm. When you bring a successful medical malpractice claim, you are entitled to damages. Damages include the harm you suffered as a result of negligent medical care. Here, we will go into more details regarding what damages you can recover in a medical malpractice case.

What Damages Can You Recover in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Damages can be broken down into categories, the first being economic damages. Economic damages, also referred to as “compensatory damages,” include those harms that are easier to quantify than others. New Jersey does not have a cap in place to limit the amount of economic damages recoverable by a party injured by medical malpractice.

Broadly speaking, economic damages include financial losses a person sustained as a result of negligent medical treatment. More specifically, economic damages include:

  • The cost of past medical care, including medical testing, imaging, and surgery
  • The cost of future medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • The cost of rehabilitation
  • The cost of assistive medical equipment

As you can see, economic damages are usually fairly easy to calculate as they can be based on concrete facts and figures. For the cost of past medical care, you can look to medical bills. For lost wages, you can look to past pay stubs.

The next category of damages, as you will see, can be much more difficult to quantify. This category is referred to as “non-economic damages.” Like economic damages, New Jersey does not have a cap in place to limit the amount of non-economic damages an injured party can recover. It should be noted, however, that an injured party cannot seek compensation for noneconomic damages through bringing a medical malpractice claim against the insurance company for the responsible party. Instead, he or she must file a claim against the health care provider or institution that was negligent in order to obtain this type of compensation.

Noneconomic damages include the very real, but intangible harm that a victim of medical malpractice can endure due to the negligent medical care he or she received. Noneconomic damages can include:

Mental anguish Pain and suffering Loss of enjoyment of life Loss of companionship Loss of reputation

It should also be noted that punitive damages are also recoverable in very rare instances. You see, punitive damages are intended to punish a party for particularly egregious behavior in order to deter others from such comparable actions. Punitive damages may be available should the negligent party have been particularly negligent or acted in a reckless or malicious manner. New Jersey does place a limit on punitive damages. The most in punitive damages that can be awarded in a New Jersey medical malpractice claim is $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is the greater sum.

New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have suffered due to the negligence of a medical provider, the Cassidy Law Firm is here for you. Contact us today.

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