Understanding Medical Malpractice Forms Of Damage

If your trust in the medical profession has been shattered due to a bad experience, you may never look at medical issues the same way. The word "damage", when used in terms of medical malpractice law, doesn't only mean the damage caused to you by the doctor or facility, but it does take that issue into consideration. Read on and find out more about medical malpractice and the three types of damages you might encounter if you take legal action against the wrongdoer. 

1. Special

When you have been harmed by a medical facility or practitioner, you have the right to claim specific sums of money for specific reasons. This category is meant to help reimburse a victim who incurred certain expenses (or who will incur those expenses in the future). As the victim of medical malpractice, you will be dealing with an increased level of financial losses as a result of the harm done. Here are a few examples of specific damages for which you may be entitled:

  • Lost wages from your job while affected by the harm done.
  • Travel expenses as a result of the harm done.
  • Medical expenses associated with correcting the harm done.

2. General

In contrast to the special damages category above, this category is not based on specific dollar costs but on the manner that the medical negligence has negatively affected you in general. When you go to the doctor and return home worse than when you left, you won't simply be suffering from the physical injury but the mental and emotional pain brought on by the injury. You entire day-to-day existence is altered in ways that may be difficult to put a price on, but that deserves compensation nevertheless. Additionally, your family is affected by the harm done to you, their loved one. The legal term for the emotional pain that affects loved ones is loss of consortium. This damage category is characterized by depression, anxiety, moodiness, anger, and more. To gain compensation be sure to keep a journal and get professional mental health counseling.

3. Punitive

This category of medical malpractice damage is not always included in a compensation package. If the judge and/or the jury during the medical malpractice trial decides that the harm done was so egregious that an example should be made, they award punitive damages. Ordinary cases do not merit this award, but it could happen in the following cases:

  1. A widespread and inadequate policy on sanitation or disease control was to blame for an injury or death and needs to be rectified before further harm is caused.
  2. The practitioner was using alcohol or illegal drugs at the time of the incident.
  3. An employee who came into contact with vulnerable patients had a past history of molestation but was hired by the hospital anyway.

Not every personal injury lawyer practices medical malpractice law. Speak to a medical malpractice lawyer before more time passes.