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If you go to a doctor or a surgeon to have a health problem fixed but end up coming out of the appointment or procedure worse than when you went in, and this was because a healthcare professional made a mistake, you can be compensated for your losses by filing a medical malpractice claim. Importantly, being “compensated” for your losses is not just limited to the costs of the medical procedure that aims to correct the problems that stemmed from the malpractice. Even if those costs are completely refunded to you, you will still likely be left worse off.
Many people who suffer from medical malpractice have jobs and other sources of income. While these people are recovering from an instance of medical malpractice, they are often left unable to work at those jobs. In the best cases, this only leads to lost income. In the worst, malpractice victims are fired or replaced, leaving them without a job when they get better and potentially with a bad mark on their employment history from “leaving” a job so suddenly.
This is why getting compensation for your lost wages in a medical malpractice case is so important.
Types of Compensation Available in Medical Malpractice Claims
The main goal of medical malpractice law – and of personal injury law, in general – is to make the victim whole, again. Unfortunately, the law is not able to turn back time to before the injury occurred. The best the law can do is to compensate malpractice victims with monetary damages that are meant to appropriately pay them for their losses. These monetary damages fall into two types: Economic damages, which can easily be distilled into dollar amounts, and non-economic damages, which are far more difficult to put a number on.
Examples of economic damages are:
- The medical expenses you paid to recover from the malpractice,
- Any wages you lost from the injuries sustained in the instance of malpractice, and
- Any losses to your ability to earn income that came from your injuries.
Examples of non-economic damages are:
- Compensation for your pain and suffering, and
- Compensation for the loss of consortium your family went through, because of the malpractice.
Medical malpractice injuries are some of the most serious and the most debilitating kinds you can suffer. People who suffer from an instance of medical malpractice often already had medical issues that they were trying to overcome. Unfortunately, in the process of getting the medical attention they needed to fix one condition, a healthcare professional’s mistake led to numerous other complications and medical problems, leaving the malpractice with more issues than when they started.
The numerous injuries that you can suffer in a medical malpractice situation can take months or even years to fully recover from. During this time, you are often confined to a hospital bed or to outpatient care that prevents you from doing very much. For people who work outdoors, this almost always means they are unable to perform their job while they recover. However, even for people who work in an office, their inability to get to work can have the same impact: They miss out on weeks, months, or even potentially years of work.
Even after you have recovered from the malpractice, you still might not be able to do all of the things that you could do, before the malpractice happened. If these long-term disabilities prevent you from doing the line of work that you did, before the accident, you might not be able to return to your job even after you have recovered.
Medical malpractice cases aim to rectify this problem by awarding compensation for the wages that you have lost, due to the healthcare worker’s negligence. By determining how many days of work you have missed while you recover and any long-term impacts that your injuries will have on your professional life as you move forward, a dollar amount can be put on the wages you have lost and you could stand to recover that amount in a successful medical malpractice case.
Lost Wages Must Be Related to Malpractice Injuries
There is, however, a limitation to the lost wages that you could receive in a medical malpractice case. The lost wages calculation only includes wages that were lost because of the malpractice injuries, not from some other source. Therefore, if you suffered a decrease in income after an instance of medical malpractice, but this happened because you changed careers through your own volition, that decrease will likely not be recoverable in a lawsuit.
No Damage Cap for Lost Wages in Medical Malpractice Cases
While recoverable lost wages are limited to those that are reasonably related to you malpractice injuries, the good news is that they are not limited by statute in Maryland. In order to, theoretically, keep the price of healthcare down, lawmakers in our state have passed legislation that limits the amount of damages that medical malpractice victims can recover. This damage cap, however, only applies to non-economic damages. Lost wages, though, are economic damages, and so are not affected by this statute, allowing you to get full compensation for your lost wages, no matter how much income your injuries prevented you from earning while you recovered.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
Victims of medical malpractice deserve to be made whole, once again. There is no reason why they should have to suffer because of a mistake or the negligent conduct of the doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals whose sole job it is to make people more healthy, not less healthy.
This is why the personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian strive to legally represent those who have been hurt by medical professionals throughout the state of Maryland, as well as in Washington, D.C. and the city of Philadelphia. Contact us online or call our law office at (800) 529-6162 for the free consultation you need to understand your rights and your legal options.