When a medical professional fails to use the care they should when treating a patient, the patient can suffer serious injuries and losses. For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer when they should, the disease may progress as it goes untreated, requiring significantly more invasive treatment once it is diagnosed. In some cases, mistakes like a missed diagnosis or surgical error can lead to the death of the patient.
You should always have an experienced attorney evaluate whether you may have a claim for medical malpractice after unnecessary injuries, complications, or the loss of a loved one. If our lawyers determine you have a valid claim for medical malpractice or wrongful death, our next step is to calculate the compensation you deserve.
In malpractice claims, the patient seeks compensation for their malpractice-related losses, which are called damages. There are different types of damages, both for monetary losses or for non-economic losses. Calculating damages can be more complicated than most people imagine, as many injured patients fail to consider all of their past losses, as well as anticipated future losses. The following are some examples of compensation you can seek in a medical malpractice case:
- Medical expenses – Many forms of medical malpractice require a patient to undergo medical treatment that they otherwise would not have needed. Often, it can be difficult to determine whether a patient needed medical treatment due to the medical malpractice or whether the patient’s condition called for the treatment regardless of any medical errors. Common medical damages include emergency treatment, doctor’s visits, hospitalization, surgery, medication, and other forms of medical treatment. If your condition will require ongoing treatment for the foreseeable future, you should estimate the costs of your future treatment to request compensation, even though you haven’t received the treatment yet. We often employ medical experts to help determine future medical expenses.
- Lost earnings – Many health conditions can prevent you from working for weeks, months, or years. Sometimes, health issues can keep you from ever returning to your previous job, forcing you to take a lower-paying job or rely on disability benefits. You deserve compensation for all of your injury-related lost income, both past and future. Determining the amount of future lost earnings often requires the analysis of an economic expert and possibly an occupational expert.
- Non-economic losses – Not all damages stem from monetary bills. Serious injuries can cause patients a variety of non-economic losses, including pain and suffering, mental trauma, and permanent impairments. For wrongful death claims, families can seek damage for their loss of affection, love, support, and similar non-economic damages. These losses do not have an exact value assigned, so you want a lawyer who understands how to calculate and prove non-economic damages. This may involve multiplying your economic losses by a certain amount or consulting with experts regarding common pain levels and a prognosis for the future.
You can expect that a medical professional and their insurance companies will challenge the damages you claim. For this reason, you need to ensure you properly calculate your losses and can provide evidence to support them.
Medical Malpractice Damage Caps in Maryland
There is no limit to the economic damages you can seek. If your medical bills and lost earnings reach into the millions, you can seek compensation for those losses. However, Maryland law does limit the amount of non-economic damages you can receive in medical malpractice claims. As of the start of 2019, these caps were as follows:
- Maximum non-economic damages in a medical malpractice claim = $815,000
- Maximum non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim stemming from medical malpractice and brought by two or more beneficiaries = $1,018,750
The damage caps increase each year based on inflation rates, though these are strict limitations. Even if a jury decides that you deserve $5 million for your pain and suffering, the court will reduce the award to account for the damage cap despite the jury’s verdict.
Even if the law limits your recovery for non-economic losses, you want to ensure you receive the maximum amount available in your case. Proving intangible losses can be challenging, however. For example, while you can explain that you are in constant pain from your injuries or medical treatment, the jury cannot actually feel that pain. You must provide persuasive evidence of your losses to convince the jury of the damages you deserve. Some evidence of non-economic losses include:
- Showing that you cannot participate in your usual activities, including exercise, recreational sports, playing with your kids, or daily chores around the house
- Journal entries or notes that you keep regarding your physical and mental pain levels from day to day
- Testimony from medical experts who deal with injuries like yours and who can give their opinion regarding typical pain levels and limitations
You will need to demonstrate that you would not have experienced the same levels of pain and suffering if your doctor had treated you according to the proper standard of care. Then, the jury will put a dollar value on your pain and suffering, which the court may or may not have to adjust due to the damage caps. Proving damages can be a surprisingly complex task, and you need the right lawyer handling your claim.
Discuss Your Rights to Recovery With Our Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Every medical malpractice claim is complicated, and determining your damages is only one of many important steps in the legal process. You want to fully understand your rights to compensation under Maryland law and enlist the help of a trusted and experienced legal team.
Alpert Schreyer, LLC Injury Attorneys handle medical malpractice cases stemming from many medical mistakes, including misdiagnosis, surgical errors, birth injuries, medication errors, and more. Not every personal injury lawyer has the skill needed to take on medical injury claims, so you want to make sure you choose the right firm for your case. To speak with a medical malpractice attorney in Maryland for free, please call (844) 632-7274 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation today.