For many people, their doctors and other medical professionals are the individuals they trust to advise and make the best decisions for their health. However, sometimes these trusted individuals perform negligent acts. It is understandable that an injured patient would seek compensation for injuries and anguish resulting from their doctor’s negligence.
If you or a loved one is a recent victim of medical malpractice you may be wondering how hard it is to sue a doctor for pain and suffering. There are a lot of steps involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit which can make it difficult to sue a doctor for pain and suffering if you do not have help from an expert attorney.
There are several steps involved in filing a medical malpractice case. Proving pain and suffering is just one piece of suing for this type of personal injury case. To gain an understanding of everything involved, let’s review the term “pain and suffering”, how it fits into a medical malpractice case, and the damages it involves. Then we will look at proving pain and suffering and how to calculate the damages.
Understanding the Term “Pain and Suffering”
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional acts in negligence and fails to meet the standard of care when treating patients. The majority of medical errors that cause injury or death are considered to be medical negligence.
Pain and suffering is the term used to describe the physical and emotional pain experienced as a result of a negligent act made by another party. In order to pursue compensation, the injury or injuries must be great enough to warrant it and can involve physical pain, mental pain, or both.
This type of pain can include discomfort from injuries that has become chronic or even injuries and disabilities that are now permanent. Other physical impact may include a reduced ability to move the body or an inability to perform other functions.
This type of pain can include distress such as emotional anguish, trauma, anxiety, and depression.
The physical, mental, and emotional effects can result in a decreased quality of life for the victim and loss of consortium for their loved ones, specifically a spouse or other close relative. Loss of consortium may include a loss of:
- Love and affection
- Comfort and care
- Assistance and protection
- Moral support
How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering?
In order to prove pain and suffering, it is first required to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed. Then, it must be proven that the negligence by your doctor or other health professional is what caused the injury resulting in your pain and suffering.
To prove all of these elements, you will need documentation such as medical records and doctor’s notes. A mental health expert testimony may also be needed to prove the mental and emotional injuries experienced. A medical malpractice lawyer can assist you with obtaining all the documentation you need for your case.
Pain and Suffering Damages
There are many factors that impact pain and suffering. Some of these factors are:
- Amount, longevity, and frequency of pain
- Expenses such as medical bills
- Life-altering injuries and disfigurements
- Interference with day-to-day life
- Mental and emotional distress
How Do You Calculate the Damages?
It can be difficult to quantify the damages related to pain and suffering. In many cases, an economic expert is brought in to prove to the jury that the amount of compensation sought is reasonable.
While it can be challenging to calculate the damages involved with pain and suffering, there are a couple ways to approach finalizing a dollar amount for the damages. As we review these options below, keep in mind that many states do have a cap on how much compensation can be awarded for pain and suffering.
Using the Per Diem Formula for Calculating the Damages
Utilizing this formula involves assigning a dollar value for each day necessary for the victim’s healing. This amount is often determined by the injured individual’s daily wages. Once that amount is determined, it will be multiplied by the number of days required to heal to get the final dollar amount for compensation.
Using the Multiplier Formula for Calculating the Damages
This formula uses the amount of economic damages multiplied by a number used to demonstrate the severity of the victim’s injuries (usually between 1.5-5). The resulting amount from this calculation is then added to the amount of economic damages to give the final dollar amount for compensation.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney that Can Help
As you can see, there is a lot required to prove in order to sue a doctor for pain and suffering. There are also several steps that need to be taken in an appropriate and timely order. Working with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer is a crucial part of proving and winning compensation for pain and suffering.
Don’t delay in getting the help you need to file and win your medical malpractice claim. The statute of limitations can vary from state to state, and you may have limited time to file your claim. At Strickland and Kendall, LLC, we understand this urgency and work hard to help our clients get the compensation they deserve. Call us at (800) 874-3528 for your free consultation today!