When you get injured at the hands of a doctor, you deserve compensation. However, it can be difficult to determine what to expect from your lawsuit in the beginning stages. This blog will explain how the law handles medical malpractice suits and statistics on medical malpractice payouts to help you manage expectations about your own lawsuit.
How Value is Attributed to Your Medical Malpractice Suit
Medical malpractice damages are divided into two categories: special damages and pain and suffering. Special damages include the cost of medical treatment and prescriptions. Special damages can also include missed income. Pain and suffering refers to the physical pain you experienced as a result of the incident. Special damages can be calculated, while pain and suffering cannot.
Insurance companies take the following factors into consideration when determining a settlement amount:
- cost of treatment
- extent of injury
- will the injury impact the patient for life?
- future medical treatment
- extent of the doctor's neglect
Settlement Vs. Trial
You and your lawyer will submit a claim to the insurance company in an attempt to settle. The insurance company will come back with an offer. You can continue to negotiate, but some offers never fully cover the expenses. In this case, you have to decide whether to accept the low amount or take the case to trial. Going to trial can be a risk unless you have a full-proof case. Trial payouts far exceed settlement payouts. Of course, the legal fees are much higher, too. Cases that go to trial usually involve high settlements and clear fault on behalf of the doctor. Most cases won't go to trial as the legal fees would cannibalize the settlement amount.
Average Settlement Amounts
The average settlement amount is $240,000, while the average trial settles for $1,000,000.
Consider where you fit in the different settlement amount categories:
- $0 – $10,000: minor cases with no permanent damage
- $10,000 – $30,000: short-term disabilities
- $30,000 – $100,000: cases that require surgery and extensive rehabilitation
- $100,000 – $500,000: severe cases that create significant pain and suffering
- $1,000,000+: permanent injury or death due to severe professional negligence
To get the most out of your case, you should go to the doctor immediately after the incident. Keep an organized record of all medical appointments and medical documents, including receipts for everything you pay out-of-pocket. You should take your evidence to a medical malpractice lawyer who will consult with you to determine if you have a case and what to expect.