Understanding Economic Damages: What Are They And How Do They Work


When a plaintiff has been injured by medical negligence and he or she has suffered financial losses due to the injury, economic damages may be awarded.  If a plaintiff is successful in their medical malpractice case, he or she may be eligible to recover damages for:

Medical Expenses

The costs incurred by a victim of medical malpractice for medical services can be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit.  These types of expenses include doctor visits, hospital stays, surgical procedures, and ambulance fees.  To be awarded compensation for medical expenses, the plaintiff will need to show that the costs are related to a medical condition that resulted from the medical malpractice injury.  To determine whether an award is reasonable, the total amount of the medical costs can be used as a rough estimate.

Lost Wages

When a plaintiff seeks lost wages, they are seeking the wages he or she would have made from the time the accident occurred up to the date a medical malpractice settlement was reached or there was a verdict.  Even if the plaintiff was unemployed at the time the injury occurred, he or she could still recover for lost wages if they are able to demonstrate their potential earnings during that same period of time.

Lost Earning Capacity

If a plaintiff can show that their ability to earn wages was impaired or reduced due to their injury, he or she can recover damages for lost earning capacity.  In determining whether a plaintiff can be compensated for lost earning capacity, their health, age, training, occupation, life expectancy, and other factors are taken into consideration.  Additionally, past earnings are also considered when the amount of the award.  However, the claim will mostly examine potential earnings had the plaintiff never been injured.

Economic damages are considered special damages.  In order to recover for these types of damages evidence of the losses sustained and a demonstration of the amount of money that was involved is necessary.

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