Your life may be turned upside-down if you find yourself injured because of medical malpractice. You may worry about how you will make up lost wages, pay your medical expenses, and how injuries could impact your lifestyle and relationships. These stresses often make it difficult to focus on physical healing.
Fortunately, you can seek legal recourse to help alleviate some of your financial stress. After suffering medical malpractice, it is possible to seek financial damages from the at-fault party. Allow a dedicated malpractice attorney to help you quantify and recover damages in a Troy medical malpractice case.
Legal Definition of Damages
Damages are awarded money that a plaintiff is entitled to seek from the defendant(s) in a lawsuit. In Troy medical malpractice cases, these damages help to offset the costs and suffering incurred due to a healthcare provider’s negligent actions. Since no two medical malpractice cases are identical, the damages plaintiffs seek may vary on a case-by-case basis.
General damages, also known as non-economic damages, are those related to suffering a person has endured. Common non-economic damages in Troy medical malpractice cases include but are not limited to:
- Severe pain
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Exacerbation of another condition
- Loss of enjoyment in life, hobbies, activities
- Loss of consortium
Many general damages, such as a loss of future earning potential, are difficult to quantify and may include an element of speculation. For this reason, potential plaintiffs may wish to have an attorney experienced in malpractice damages help determine the approximate value of their losses.
Actual damages are commonly referred to as economic damages. These damages tend to have clear economic value, such as lost wages, medical bills, or future medical expenses. Actual damages can usually be demonstrated with clear evidence, such as pay stubs and copies of medical bills.
Finally, depending on the circumstances of an injury or malpractice, a jury may choose to bring punitive damages against defendants who they determine acted maliciously, intentionally, or recklessly. These damages are meant to punish or deter the plaintiff from engaging in similar activities.
Apportioning Damages in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Troy adheres to the concept of pure comparative fault applies in medical malpractice lawsuits. As detailed in New York Civil Practice Law & Rules §1411, this means a plaintiff could be found liable for a portion of their injury. Actions such as failing to follow a doctor’s instructions, not taking medicine as prescribed, or not disclosing known medical conditions may lead to a plaintiff being found partly at fault.
If the court finds a harmed person contributed to their own injury, any awarded damages may be decreased by the court-assigned percentage of fault. However, at no point is a plaintiff completely barred from seeking recovery. Instead, New York allows any plaintiff to recover damages, even if they bear 99 percent of the total liability for their injuries. For more information about apportioning damages in a Troy medical malpractice case, contact a seasoned lawyer.
Joint and Several Liability
In many medical malpractice cases, more than one individual may bear enough liability to be named as a defendant. In these cases, a jury may apportion damages to each liable party.
With several liability, each at-fault defendant is responsible for only their assigned percentage of fault and the corresponding percentage of damages. However, in cases where joint liability is applied, all defendants may be liable for the total award a plaintiff is due to receive.
Recovering Damages in a Troy Medical Malpractice Case with Professional Legal Assistance
It is extremely important to account for all damages in a Troy medical malpractice case prior to going to trial. Though some general damages can be difficult to quantify or predict, you cannot go back and amend damage types or amounts once a case is settled or ruled upon by a court.
Many victims of medical malpractice choose to turn to an established attorney for assistance. A dedicated legal professional could help take inventory and collect evidence of damages you have incurred and work to quantify the cost of subjective harm in the interest of developing a strong claim for compensation. If you are unsure of the damages you may be able to seek, or of how to begin recovering after malpractice, call today to schedule a consultation with a skilled medical malpractice attorney.