Because the factors differ with each person and injury, we cannot tell you exactly how much your medical malpractice case is worth without discussing your case with you. There are, however, some factors that consistently affect how much compensation you might get in your case.
- The severity of your injury
- Your prognosis
- How long your injury keeps you out of work
- Your salary before and after your injury (If you had to take a lesser-paying job or retire completely because of your injuries, you are entitled to compensation for that wage loss)
- How your injuries affect you physically and emotionally
- The medical professional’s actions
We will sit down with you and determine exactly how your injury happened as well as how your injury affects — and will continue to affect — you. This will allow us to determine the damages to which you may be entitled.
Determining Potential Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case
There are two types of damages that might be available in a medical malpractice case: compensatory and punitive. We will determine the value for these damages to obtain an amount of a fair settlement.
There are two types of compensatory damages: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages are those with a more straightforward value. They might include:
- Medical expenses: If the medical negligence caused you to incur medical bills to correct or treat the harm done to you, we will include that amount in your damages claim. The bills must be reasonable, medically necessary, and related to the injury your doctor caused. Your medical records and bills will be vital in proving your case and your healthcare provider’s liability.
- Lost wages: If you had to take time away from your job because of the harm you experienced, you should receive compensation for that lost income. We will prove your lost wages by using your employer’s records or your W-2s.
- Decreased earning capacity: Sometimes people are not able to maintain the job they had before becoming a victim of medical malpractice, or their career trajectory will be different than it would have been. You are entitled to compensation for the difference between how much income you could have made and how much you will be able to earn after your injuries. We can discuss your case with vocational experts to calculate the dollar value of the damage to your career and earning potential.
- Ongoing assistance and care: Depending on the severity and type of injuries the medical negligence caused, you might need assistance with the tasks of daily living, such as housekeeping, meal preparation, managing your financial affairs, and personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. These costs are compensable. To determine their value, we will add up any receipts or bills you preserved.
- Home and vehicle modifications: If you require home modifications for accessibility and access or specialized transportation because of the medical negligence, we will include that amount in your damages claim. Determining this value requires adding up the costs on any receipts you have.
The value for noneconomic damages is more difficult to determine. However, you might be entitled to any of the following:
Note: Per O.C.G.A. § 51-13-1, Georgia allows the recovery of noneconomic damages, but limits them to a total of $350,000, $700,000, or $1,050,000 depending on who the liable party is.
If the doctor’s behavior was especially shocking, you may be entitled to punitive damages. These damages punish the wrongdoer and attempt to dissuade others from performing the same actions.
Georgia law limits punitive damages to $250,000 in medical malpractice cases.
In addition to this damages cap, it is important to note that, under Georgia’s split-recovery law, 75 percent of all punitive damages awards in tort cases (such as medical malpractice claims) go into the state treasury, not to you. The good news is that the court will deduct a “proportionate part” of litigation costs, including attorney’s fees from this amount. The rationale behind this “split-recovery” law is that the law sees these damages as a way to punish the defendant for his behavior or to deter future similar actions rather than to compensate victims.
Per O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1, recovering punitive damages requires us to prove that the healthcare provider’s behavior showed at least one of these items:
- Willful misconduct
- A level of carelessness that indicates no concern about the consequences of the actions
Discuss Your Case with an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. will sit down with you to determine the value of your case. Once we have determined your case’s value, we will fight hard to get you all the compensation you deserve. Call us today to set up your free consultation with an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer: 404-474-0804. We do not charge legal fees unless and until there is a recovery.