If you get hurt because of someone else's negligence, it can leave you feeling victimized and frustrated because you did not deserve the injuries that you suffered and there was often very little that you could have done to prevent it from happening. Things are often even worse if the injuries that you suffered were at the hands of doctors, surgeons, or other medical professionals in an instance of medical malpractice. Malpractice can cause some of the worst injuries possible, in large part because of the severe medical complications that even the smallest mistake can create. These injuries, along with the debilitations that they can cause, can be the source of severe pain and lots of suffering.
Maryland's personal injury and medical malpractice law knows and understands this, and does all that it can do to make you whole, once again. While courts cannot turn back time to before you suffered your injuries, they can make sure you get compensated for all of your losses. This includes compensation for the pain and suffering that you have gone through.
Types of Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
The point of personal injury law in general, and medical malpractice law, in particular, is to make you, the victim, whole again by compensating you for all of the things that you have lost as a result of the negligence on the part of the doctor or surgeon that hurt you.
Legally speaking, there are two different kinds of losses: Economic losses and non-economic losses. Economic losses are those that can easily be put into a dollar amount. Examples include:
- Your medical expenses,
- Wages that you missed out on because you were hurt or were recovering, and
- Future earning potential that you can no longer count on.
Non-economic losses are those that cannot reliably be put to a precise dollar amount because they are far more subjective. Examples include:
- Compensation for your pain and suffering, and
- Your family's loss of consortium, while you were away from them for your recovery.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Out of all the different ways to get hurt, instances of medical malpractice are among the worst. Most cases of medical malpractice either involve a surgeon making a mistake or acting negligently and causing an injury during a surgical procedure, or a doctor negligently misdiagnosing you or missing a diagnosis, completely.
In the case of a surgical error, the medical complications that can result can be severe, incredibly painful, and debilitating over the long-term, leading to significant amounts of suffering. Even the smallest slip-up by a surgeon in the middle of a surgical procedure can cause irreparable damage to tissues or to the organs that you rely on every day. Even if the damage is not life-threatening, it can still cause long-term health problems and prevent you from doing the kinds of activities that you most enjoyed, before the surgery that went awry. These long-term health problems can cause significant amounts of pain and can make you suffer in both physical ways and in mental and emotional ways, as well, as you find yourself unable to do the things that mean the most to you, or that brought you happiness, before.
In the case of a doctor's diagnostic error, you might face unnecessary pain and suffering as you go through treatments that you do not need, all while your medical condition deteriorates from not getting the medical attention that is necessary to correct the problem. Even if the misdiagnosis is discovered and corrected, it can be too late to prevent the real medical condition from worsening and causing more pain and suffering than it would have, if the doctor had diagnosed it properly.
Maryland's Damage Cap for Pain and Suffering in Medical Malpractice Claims
Unfortunately, as a part of the “tort reform” movement in the United States, many states, including Maryland, have passed laws that put significant restrictions on the amount of non-economic damages that can be recovered in medical malpractice cases. Because your pain and suffering is considered a non-economic loss, Maryland's law capping the damages available in a medical malpractice claim puts a limit the amount you can recover for your pain and suffering. This limitation is without regard to how much you have been put through by the doctor's negligence or malpractice.
The capped amount that you can recover in a Maryland medical malpractice case for all of your non-economic damages depends on when the cause of action, or the instance of medical malpractice, arose. If the malpractice happened between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, then the maximum amount you can recover in non-economic damages, including compensation for your pain and suffering, is $650,000. This amount increases by $15,000 in 2009, and by $15,000 for every year after that. If the malpractice occurred before 2005, though, the statute does not apply and you can recover as much as you deserve.
Damage caps like Maryland's are controversial because they leave innocent medical malpractice victims without the compensation they need to make a full recovery, and that they deserve after what they have been through. Nevertheless, these damage caps have been passed in numerous states after vigorous lobbying efforts by the healthcare industry, despite the harm they can do to innocent people in the state.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Maryland at Gilman & Bedigian
Medical malpractice injuries can cause pain and suffering that lasts for a lifetime. The personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at the Maryland law office of Gilman & Bedigian know this and fight for your rights and interests both inside and outside of the courtroom in order to get you the compensation that you need and deserve.
If you or someone you love has been hurt by the negligence or carelessness of a medical professional in Maryland, contact our attorneys by calling our law office at (800) 529-6162 or by contacting us online for the free consultation that is the first step on your road to justice and a full recovery.