You can pursue money damages for both economic losses, like medical expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic losses, like pain and suffering, in a Georgia medical malpractice case. In extreme cases, you might have an argument for punitive damages. In addition, if your loved one died as a result of medical malpractice, the legal beneficiaries might have a claim for additional damages.
Economic Damages in Georgia Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice often results in additional medical expenses and lost time from work. For example, a person had his appendix surgically removed because he had an acute case of appendicitis. The surgeon did not notice that a metal clamp fell into the incision. After completing the procedure, the doctor closed the wound with sutures. As a result of the foreign object accidentally left inside of him, the patient experienced extreme pain and had to have a second operation to remove the clamp.
The plaintiff can seek money damages that include the expenses of the second surgery, including the hospital bill, the surgeon’s fee, and all other reasonable costs directly related to the medical error. The patient cannot recover the cost of the original operation, because he needed that procedure anyway, and the doctor’s mistake did not cause appendicitis.
Also, having a second surgery to remove the clamp likely caused the plaintiff to miss more time from work than he would have if the doctor had not made the error. The patient cannot get damages for the amount of income he would have missed if the surgery had gone correctly. He can, however, go after the extra time that he was away from the job because of the medical mistake. These are just some of the damages that are recoverable in a medical malpractice case in Georgia.
Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice Claims in Georgia
Non-economic damages are things that do not come with a paper trail, unlike a hospital bill or a pharmacy receipt. For instance, the plaintiff would have endured some pain from the original appendectomy. He cannot get compensation for that discomfort, but he can pursue money damages for the additional pain of having a foreign object inside of him and the discomfort the second operation caused. Pain and suffering damages can also encompass emotional distress.
Sometimes a patient is disfigured as a result of medical malpractice. The damages the plaintiff can recover for disfigurement will depend on the facts of the individual case.
A patient could go after compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life if the medical mistake changes his life significantly. Let’s say that a surgeon accidentally removes the patient’s healthy kidney instead of the one that has cancer. The patient then has to undergo a second operation to remove the malignant kidney, and then go on kidney dialysis for the rest of his life. The plaintiff can have a claim for the loss of enjoyment of life. These types of non-economic damages can be significant damages that are recoverable in a medical malpractice case in Georgia.
When Punitive Damages Are Allowed in Medical Malpractice Cases
In some extreme cases, a plaintiff can ask the judge to award punitive damages in a medical malpractice case. In such an instance we would have to prove that the healthcare provider acted with such an entire lack of care that the court can presume the defendant acted with conscious indifference to the consequences the plaintiff could suffer.
Georgia law allows a plaintiff to seek punitive damages after proving any of these things:
- Willful conduct
We would have to prove one of those factors with clear and convincing evidence.
Wrongful Death From Medical Malpractice
Medical negligence can take the life of the patient. If your close relative died as the result of a medical mistake, we might be able to go after additional damages for the legal beneficiaries.
Depending on the facts of the case, these damages might be available:
- Loss of the current and future financial support from the deceased person
- Final medical bills
- Funeral and burial costs
- The pain and suffering the decedent experienced from the negligence
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection
Georgia law allows the legal beneficiaries to seek damages for the “full value” of the life of the deceased.
Getting Legal Help for a Georgia Medical Malpractice Case
When you or a loved one was the victim of medical malpractice, you need experienced lawyers who will fight hard to get you all the compensation that you deserve. At S. Burke Law, we pride ourselves on delivering personal, attentive legal services to our clients. You will not feel like a number as we help you pursue damages that are recoverable in a medical malpractice case in Georgia.
You can focus on rebuilding your life while we take care of the rest. We can handle the medical malpractice case through the claims process and file a lawsuit on your behalf if the case does not settle for a fair amount. We will deal directly with the professional liability insurance company so that you do not have to do so.
Call us today at (404) 842-7838 for a free consultation.