What Kind Of Damages Can You Receive In a Medical Malpractice Case?

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If a doctor or hospital injured a patient in some way through medical malpractice, the patient can potentially recover a fair amount of damages. Damages can come in the form of many different things, including the patient’s loss of enjoyment of life or reimbursement and payment for their medical bills. In fact, if the patient dies because of medical malpractice, their family can still recover damages on their behalf. If you are interested in learning the different types of damages that a patient can recover after medical malpractice, keep reading below!

What Types Of Damages Are There?

In Medical malpractice lawsuits, there are usually three types of damages. These are:

  • General Damages
  • Special Damages, and
  • Punitive Damages

How Does a Patient Prove Medical Malpractice?

When a patient is seeking damages for medical malpractice, there are a few elements that must be present in their claim.

  1. The offending doctor, institution, or practitioner owed the patient a duty of care (for example, the doctor was specifically assigned to this patient to take care of them).
  2. They breached that duty of care in some way, like not providing the patient with the proper diagnosis that any other reasonable doctor would have provided them.
  3. That breach of duty caused the patient’s injuries. From the above example, if they doctor misdiagnosed the patient, the patient could be given the wrong medication and made iller.
  4. There is a price tag that a court can place on these damages.

An In-Depth Look Into Damages

Below, you will find the three categories of damages.

General Damages. General damages are also qualitative damages and are typically harder for a court to put a specific price tag on. Common examples of general damages are:

  • Mental and physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of future earning capacity, and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Each case will be unique, and your specific circumstances will lead to completely different damages than another person’s medical malpractice case. When you and your lawyer fight for a certain dollar value, you must provide solid evidence regarding the patient’s suffering or loss of enjoyment. Expert witnesses can be particularly useful for arguing for certain general damages.

Special Damages. The special damages in your case are much more direct, and a court can quantify them much easier. These types of damages are:

  • Expenses relating to your medical bills
  • Payment for missed work, and
  • Other expenses that came up due to the medical malpractice

While an expert can certainly help your case, special damages are easier to pinpoint because there is usually a specific monetary value to look at.

Punitive Damages. Punitive damages are harder for a patient to recover, and are typically reserved for situations where the doctor’s actions were intentionally harmful or damaging. When a jury or judge awards punitive damages, it is usually to specifically punish the offending doctor or practice.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, you should not have to endure this process on your own. Instead, reach out to a medical malpractice lawyer Washington, DC trusts to discuss your options.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into medical malpractice cases and damages that can be claimed.