When you seek treatment from a doctor or other healthcare professional you understandably expect to feel better, not end up suffering from additional injuries. Unfortunately though, even doctors can commit errors. When a healthcare professional does commit a medical error it may rise to the level of medical malpractice. When that is the case, the victim may be entitled to compensation for the injuries he or she suffered as a result of the wrongful or negligent conduct of the healthcare professional. In legal terms, the compensation a victim may be entitled to is referred to as “damages”. If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice you likely have a number of questions relating to your potential medical malpractice lawsuit. For example, is there a damages cap that applies to a Medical malpractice claim?
Medical malpractice is a specialized type of personal injury lawsuit. Typically, in a personal injury lawsuit a victim is entitled to at least two types of “damages” – economic and non-economic. Economic damages represent the out of pocket expenses the victim incurred as a result of the injury, such as lost wages and medical bills. Non-economic damages are intended to compensate the victim for the emotional impact of the injuries, or the “pain and suffering” the victim endured. In some cases, a victim may also be entitled to punitive damages which are intended to punish the defendant for particularly egregious conduct.
Many states put a “cap” on the amount of damages the victim of medical malpractice may be awarded. The theory behind capping damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit is based on protecting healthcare professionals from outrageous awards and frivolous lawsuits. Unfortunately, these caps can also leave a victim without sufficient compensation for valid injuries. In Louisiana, for example, the cap on damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit is $500,000. Unlike most states, that cap incudes all damages except future medical expenses. Lost wages, regardless of the actual value, are included in the $500,000 cap. This means that if you are paralyzed, for example, because of a medical error committed by a surgeon, you cannot receive more than $500,000 in total (exclusive of the costs related to future medical care) regardless of how much you will actually lose in lost wages as a result of your injuries over the course of your lifetime.
If you have additional questions or concerns regarding medical malpractice or your rights as a victim, contact the Louisiana medical malpractice attorneys at Broussard & Hart, LLC by calling 855-231-6873 to schedule your appointment today.