If someone else acts negligently or recklessly and their poor conduct ends up causing an accident that leaves you injured, you deserve to be compensated for whatever losses you have suffered. After all, if you were not responsible for your injuries, there is no reason why you should be the one to pay for the costs of your recovery and your other emotional and physical losses. Expecting you to pay for what someone else did would be unfair and unjust.
This is especially true in the context of medical malpractice, where you are often unconscious during the surgical procedure that goes wrong or are completely relying on your doctor's advice when he or she makes a mistaken diagnosis or fails to notice important symptoms that result in no diagnosis, at all.
Unfortunately, medical malpractice injuries are some of the most serious kinds of injuries that you can suffer and can cause debilitating complications that impact the rest of your life. Some of these complications and medical conditions can drastically reduce your ability to do the things that you most enjoy about life. Getting compensated for this loss of enjoyment of life is a huge part of making you whole after a devastating instance of medical malpractice.
Types of Damages that Can Be Recovered in Medical Malpractice Cases
Personal injury law, which includes the smaller field of medical malpractice, has a single goal: Making the injured victim of someone else's negligence whole, once again. Expecting victims to pay for the costs of their losses and force them to bear their pain and suffering on their own would be unfair. Unfortunately, not even the legal system has a time machine that can bring you back to the time before you were hurt. Instead, all that it can do to make you whole again is force the person or the people who were ultimately responsible for your injuries to pay you compensation for your losses.
In Maryland, the kinds of compensation that you can recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit fall into two different categories: Economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that are easily expressed in terms of dollar amounts, and include:
- The cost of the medical expenses that you incurred to treat the injuries that the malpractice caused,
- Wages that you lost while you were hurt and were recovering, and
- Any earning potential that your injuries prevent you from pursuing.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are not easily put into a dollar amount. These include:
- Compensation for the pain and suffering your injuries have caused you,
- The loss of consortium and companionship that your family went through while you were hurt and while you were recovering, and
- Any loss of enjoyment of life that resulted from your injuries.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
In Maryland, you can recover compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit for any loss of life's enjoyments that stem from the injuries that were caused by a medical professional's negligence. Injuries that lead you to lose enjoyment in life come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are especially prevalent in medical malpractice cases when compared to other kinds of personal injury cases. This is because medical malpractice often ends with a significant internal injury that causes numerous other medical complications that can impact other parts of your body, including your ability to sense the world around you. Losing your ability to taste food or hear music can prevent you from enjoying life to the extent that you did, before your injuries. Suffering a long-term physical debilitation that prevents you from pursuing or enjoying a hobby or special interest of yours can have the same impact on your ability to enjoy life.
These impacts of medical malpractice might not cause pain or inflict any direct suffering. However, they prevent you from living life to the extent that you could, before the accident, and you deserve to be compensated for that loss.
Medical Malpractice Damage Caps in Maryland
Unfortunately, lawmakers in Maryland have passed laws that put a limit on the amount of non-economic damages that you can recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit, regardless of how badly you have been hurt. In theory, these damage caps lower the cost of healthcare by reducing the cost of malpractice insurance. In reality, though, they leave victims of medical malpractice without the compensation they need and deserve to make a full recovery.
Our state's damage cap law for medical malpractice puts a limit on the amount you can recover in non-economic damages, including for your loss of enjoyment of life. This limitation is based on when your malpractice claim arose:
- If the malpractice happened between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, non-economic damages are capped at $650,000
- Every calendar year after 2008 raises this limitation by $15,000.
Worse, non-economic damages do not just include compensation for your loss of life's enjoyments. They also include your family's loss of consortium and your own pain and suffering. Under Maryland's damage cap law, though, all of these injuries are lumped together and, collectively, are capped at the amount dictated by the law. This means, if you have gone through so much pain and suffering that a jury finds you are entitled to an amount that takes you right up to the law's limitation, your family cannot recover anything for the companionship that they have lost and you cannot recover anything for any loss of life's enjoyments from the injuries you have suffered.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian Can Help
If you or someone you love has been hurt by a doctor's mistake or a surgeon's negligence, you need legal help to get you the compensation that you need and deserve. Reach out to the medical malpractice attorneys at the Maryland law office of Gilman & Bedigian by calling us at (800) 529-6162 or by contacting us online for a free consultation.