If you get hurt in an instance of medical malpractice, the first thing that you need to do is get the medical attention that you need to get better. This can be frustrating because you did not deserve the injuries that you suffered from the malpractice of the medical professional that tried to treat you, and you definitely did not deserve the cost of the additional treatment that you needed to correct their mistakes. Medical expenses like these can be staggering, both because of the high price of healthcare in the United States and the often serious medical issues that can arise after an instance of medical malpractice.
Those medical expenses, however, are just one of the forms of damages that can be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit, preventing the doctor's mistake from harming your financial security for years to come.
Types of Damages Recoverable in Medical Malpractice Cases
The goal of a medical malpractice is to make you, the victim, as whole as possible after such a devastating event. While the law cannot turn back time to before you were hurt, it can compensate you for your losses. There are several different types of losses that victims of medical malpractice suffer, ranging from economic losses, which can be easily put into a dollar amount, to non-economic damages, which are far trickier to determine. Examples of economic damages are:
- The cost of your medical expenses,
- Your lost wages, and
- Any loss to your earning potential from your injuries.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, include things like:
- Compensation for the pain and suffering you have gone through, and
- The loss of consortium that your family has gone through because of your injuries.
In many medical malpractice cases, the lion's share of your economic losses is often the cost of the medical care you need to recover from the incident. This is largely because medical malpractice situations often include victims who already had health issues that they were trying to get fixed with a medical procedure. The negligent conduct by the doctor or other healthcare professional often exacerbates and complicates the existing health condition, while creating new ones through their poor conduct. Others who are victimized by medical malpractice often suffer from the fact that their deteriorating health condition was not correctly diagnosed soon enough. In these cases, significant medical expenses can accumulate to treat a health condition that you would not be facing, or that would not be as severe if it had been diagnosed properly.
Medical expenses are far-reaching and often go beyond just the cost of the treatment that is immediately necessary to deal with the repercussions of the malpractice. Compensation for your medical expenses can cover all of the costs that were reasonably necessary to treat the injuries that were proximately caused by the medical malpractice. These expenses can come in many forms, from the cost of the medical care you needed to treat the malpractice, to the cost of in-home care and medical accessories, like a wheelchair, that you need to overcome your injuries. If the malpractice causes an injury that is debilitating over the long term, compensation for your medical expenses can also cover the cost of whatever long-term care is needed.
Limitations on Compensation for Medical Expenses
There are, however, limitations on the compensation that you can recover for your medical expenses after being the victim of medical malpractice: Those expenses must be reasonable, and can only cover the cost of medical expenses that are reasonably related to treating your malpractice injuries.
The reason for this makes sense. It would be unfair to doctors and hospitals if you could recover the cost of an eye surgery in a malpractice case stemming from a negligently removed gallbladder if there was no connection between the two medical issues. However, doctors and hospitals often argue that medical treatments and tests were too far removed or were only tangentially related to the injuries caused by their malpractice. Additionally, they often split hairs on the price that you paid in seeking medical care after their negligence ended with you getting severely hurt, claiming that you paid too much and that they should only have to cover the costs of the cheapest option available to you.
No Damage Cap for Medical Expenses in Malpractice Claims
In Maryland, lawmakers have passed a statute that puts a limit, or a “cap,” on the amount that can be recovered in medical malpractice cases. In theory, this reduces the price of malpractice insurance that doctors, surgeons, and their medical facilities have to pay which, also, in theory, reduces the cost of health insurance. However, statutory damage caps also have a huge downside: They prevent many malpractice victims from recovering the full amount of compensation that they are owed.
Luckily, Maryland's damage cap for medical malpractice cases only applies to non-economic damages, like compensatory payments for your pain and suffering. The amount that you stand to recover to pay for the cost of your medical expenses, therefore, does not have a maximum amount set by law.
Maryland Malpractice Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian
Suffering from medical malpractice is one of the worst things that someone can go through. Unfortunately, it happens very often, impacting the lives of thousands every year in Maryland.
That is why the personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian strive to represent those who have been hurt because of the negligence of a doctor, surgeon, or other healthcare professional. By fighting for your rights and interests both in and out of court, we can get you the compensation that you need and deserve. This includes, but is not just limited to, the costs of the medical expenses that you accumulated from the instance of medical malpractice that hurt you.
Contact us online or call our law office at (800) 529-6162 for the free consultation that you need to determine what your rights are and how to go about enforcing them.