The first and most important tenet of the Hippocratic Oath is to do no harm.When people go to doctors for treatment they go in with the assumption that doctors will take that oath seriously. People entrust their health and their lives to doctors. When this trust is violated, the consequences can be dire. The negligence of a doctor can result in serious injuries and lifelong consequences for an individual. If you or someone you know have sustained injuries as the result of medical malpractice, you have options. You can fight for compensation. When pursuing damages in West Palm Beach medical malpractice cases, an experienced malpractice lawyer is an indispensable asset so contact a lawyer today.
Types of Damages a Person Can Recover
There are three types of damages in West Palm Beach medical malpractice cases.
The first and easiest for people to understand is economic damages. They include medical bills caused by the doctor’s negligence, lost wages because a person was not able to work as a result of the injuries caused by the negligence, and the need for future care caused by the negligence.
The second type of damage is non-economic damages which are really the most important types of things. They include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, disfigurement, and aggravation of the pre-existing condition. Non-economic damages address the person’s quality of life.
The third area of damages available in cases of the most egregious conduct are punitive damages which are awarded when the conduct is so outrageous that society feels it necessary to punish the person for their conduct and give a warning to other health care professionals that they cannot act in the same manner or they are going to be held accountable as well.
The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice case in West Palm Beach is two years from when the patient knew or should have known of the reasonable possibility of malpractice. Different types of damages are calculated in different ways. Economic damages are calculated by experts who can set forth the cost of future care, lost wages, and things of that nature. There is no precise method of determining human damages.
Based on the law and the evidence, the jury makes a determination on what is reasonable for the different elements of the loss of capacity, the enjoyment of life, for pain, and for suffering. Punitive damages are punishment damages and the law does not allow putting someone into bankruptcy. However, the person responsible for the harm must be hit hard enough economically that they do not repeat the behavior.
An economist looks at the resources the person has and a jury calculates a reasonable percentage of those resources as punishment. Damages are calculated by the jury. Ultimately, the jury makes those determinations. In most situations, there are no caps on damages on medical malpractice cases in Palm Beach Gardens. In limited circumstances, there could be caps on damages but most caps in Florida were declared unconstitutional.
Role of Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
In medical malpractice cases, the damages and the injuries caused by the medical malpractice are usually severe. The loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life for somebody who suffered a brain injury or is paralyzed through the negligence of medical professional results in a quality of life that is so impaired that non-economic or human damages in medical malpractice cases tend to be very large.
Punitive damages in West Palm Beach medical malpractice cases are not common. Typically only cases where the doctors operated under the influence of drugs or alcohol or, cases where the doctor recommended and did unnecessary surgeries in order to make money, are the kinds of cases where punitive damages would be sought. With punitive damages, the court is trying to incentivize the doctor to not repeat that behavior/action in the future.
Importance of a Lawyer
When you are ill, you rely on doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to be professional and treat you. When a doctor disregards this responsibility, it can have life-altering consequences for patients involved. You should not have to pay for the negligence of the people who were supposed to help you. If you have sustained injuries due to the negligence of a medical professional, you should seek the counsel of a personal injury lawyer. A qualified attorney can help you pursue damages in West Palm Beach medical malpractice cases, and can work to hold the responsible parties accountable.