Medical malpractice cases have the potential to cause severe injury, illness, or even death. The financial fallout and psychological trauma could be substantial, not only for the victim but also for their family. Fortunately, victims have several avenues to recover monetary compensation, known as damages. A Cleveland lawyer who works on medical malpractice cases could advise a potential client on which kind of damages to seek and how much to ask for.
Generally speaking, medical malpractice damages in the state of Ohio are broken up in three main categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages usually include the following: medical bills, future medical care, lost wages, and future earnings. Non-economic damages are not immediately quantifiable and include things like the pain and suffering the patient endured as a result of the medical malpractice. They are not based on medical bills, and there is no formula that can be used to calculate them. The jury decides what non-economic damages are really worth.
Punitive damages can be awarded when a medical provider is reckless or has a conscious disregard for the rights and safety of their patients. It is a heightened standard and does not occur in every case. There are some cases where punitive damages are automatically on the table. One example is when someone alters or deletes a medical record. Other than that, it is up to the jury to decide if the medical care, or lack thereof, meets that heightened standard.
The jury decides what damages are worth in any type of medical malpractice case. However, expert witnesses can be brought in to help a jury come to that decision. For example, if an individual needs future medical care, a life care planner can testify as to the costs of all future care for that patient. For lost wages or lost earning capacity, an economist might be able to testify about the monetary value of those specific economic damages.
In the state of Ohio, economic damages are not capped in medical malpractice cases. For example, if the future medical care for a case is determined to be $10 million, a person could recover the full amount of that. Non-economic damages are capped at $250,000. However, it is important to note that in a wrongful death medical malpractice case, non-economic damages are not capped.
Medical malpractice cases have a one-year statute of limitations, or two in wrongful death cases. Thus, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after medical malpractice has occurred. A Cleveland attorney from Tittle & Perlmuter could advise a medical malpractice victim about how best to proceed and what kind of damages they might be able to recover. Call us today to see what we might be able to do for you.