Medical malpractice occurs when a negligent act is performed or when a health care provider violates a governing medical standard that results in damage or harm to a patient.
Negligence could include an error in treatment or illness management. If such negligence results in an injury to a patient, a case could arise against local, state or federal agencies that operate hospital facilities; against the doctor if his or her actions deviated from generally accepted standards of practice; or against the hospital for improper care, such as issues with medications or nursing care.
Malpractice suits are usually complex and costly to win. Time and money make it implausible to sue for a minor injury. It is important to consult with an attorney who can help you determine whether your claim is worth pursuing.
Generally, there are two types of damages available to a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case: compensatory damages and punitive damages. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your situation, determine whether you have a claim, and put together a case for damages.
Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff for the actual injury and harm that he or she has suffered. In other words, compensatory damages aim to make the plaintiff “whole.” Compensatory damages can be divided into two categories, damages for economic loss (actual damages) and non-economic loss (general damages). Economic loss includes out-of-pocket expenses such as medical and hospital bills, the cost of prescription drugs, nursing assistance, physical therapy and medical equipment such as a wheelchair. Lost wages because of missed work while you were recovering, are also recoverable as compensatory damages.