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Damages Available in Medical Malpractice Cases

Attorneys Representing Injured Patients in Baltimore and Surrounding Areas

Medical malpractice can affect virtually every aspect of a person’s life, which is why Maryland law allows malpractice victims to recover damages. If you have been a victim of harm that you believe was caused by medical negligence, our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers are here to help. We understand the physical, emotional, and economic suffering that injured patients and their families go through when a medical professional commits an error. With extensive experience helping Maryland victims obtain the damages available in medical malpractice cases, we can put together a case that will help you secure a stable future.

Maryland Medical Malpractice Laws

Medical malpractice is a complicated area of law that covers the injuries caused by the negligence of medical professionals and health care institutions. There are four requirements that must be met in order for a medical malpractice action to be successful: duty, breach, causation, and damages. The first arises from a doctor-patient relationship. The second takes place when a doctor fails to use the appropriate level of care when diagnosing or treating a patient. The third is met when the plaintiff can show a causal connection between the doctor’s breach and the patient’s injury. Finally, the plaintiff is required to show that he or she suffered damages as a result. Each of these elements must be established before the injured patient can obtain any damages.

Compensatory Damages Available in Medical Malpractice Cases

Damages are an essential element of a medical malpractice claim. In the legal sense, this term refers to compensation provided to a person who has suffered an injury or loss due to the wrongdoing of another person or entity. Generally, there are two types of damages available to medical malpractice victims: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages in medical malpractice cases are designed to compensate the plaintiff for actual injuries and losses that he or she has suffered. Put another way, compensatory damages aim to make the plaintiff "whole."

Compensatory damages can be categorized as either economic or non-economic. Economic damages refer to compensation for out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical bills, future medical costs, surgery costs, medication costs, rehabilitation costs, lost wages due to missed work, and more. Non-economic damages refer to compensation for intangible harm, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of consortium or companionship, loss of the ability to work, disability, and disfigurement.

It is important to note that non-economic damages are capped in Maryland medical malpractice lawsuits. As a practical matter, the cap means that even if a plaintiff successfully proves his or her case, a jury cannot award that plaintiff a higher damages amount than what is permitted under the relevant statutory cap on non-economic damages. The cap is based on the year of the injury or death. By law, Maryland’s medical malpractice damages cap increases by $15,000 each year. For example, the cap is $815,000 in 2019.

Punitive Damages Available in Medical Malpractice Cases

In extremely rare cases, a plaintiff’s lawyer may be able to recover punitive damages for a patient. Maryland’s Supreme Court has held that punitive damages can only be awarded when a plaintiff can show that there was “actual malice” on the part of the wrongdoer. Since showing that a medical professional intentionally, willfully, or deliberately hurt you is usually difficult, very few people are able to secure punitive damages. These damages are also designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter other medical professionals from engaging in similar future misconduct.

Contact a Diligent Baltimore Attorney Today

Medical injuries can have far-reaching consequences for a person’s life. If you have been injured by a medical professional’s negligence, you need to consult a medical malpractice lawyer immediately. At Arfaa Law Group, we can evaluate your situation, determine whether you have a claim, and put together the strongest possible case for damages. We will aim to resolve your malpractice claim in an effective and efficient manner. To schedule a free case evaluation, call us today at 410-889-1850 or contact us online. We represent people in the Baltimore area and throughout Maryland.