Pennsylvania Medical, Surgical Malpractice Law – What is financial compensation?


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Patients who have suffered due to the negligence of a medical professional may be able to obtain reasonable financial compensation for their injuries. Doing so will require filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in the Pennsylvania court system.

However, it is important to conduct an initial analysis of cost-effectiveness, i.e., whether the injuries and damages resulting from the negligence are serious enough to warrant proceeding with a lawsuit. This is due to Pennsylvania’s certificate of merit requirement which applies in medical malpractice cases. Under the certificate of merit requirement law, patients are allowed to file lawsuits if and only if a medical expert certifies that they have reviewed the case and believe the medical professional in the case (defendant) committed negligence. Read more about the certificate of merit requirement in PA medical malpractice cases.

Financial Compensation in Medical Malpractice Cases

In Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit cases, injured patients may make claims for any and all damages which resulted from the doctor/hospital’s negligence. This includes both economic or financial damages as well as non-economic damages.

Economic Damages in PA Med Mal Cases

Economic losses in medical malpractice cases are often extensive and usually include medical bills and lost wages. Injured patients often suffer serious complications as a result of malpractice. For instance, a woman whose ectopic pregnancy is misdiagnosed may suffer a ruptured fallopian tube and infection. The medical bills alone may exceed tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, the patient may lose significant amounts of time from work. Therefore, the patient in this scenario can make a claim for all medical bills and lost wages which resulted from the misdiagnosis.

Injured patients may also make claims for out of pocket expenses. In the scenario above, the patient may be bed-ridden for several weeks, if not months, and if she has children, may be required to hire a babysitter to help with childcare. Those costs could be added to the economic loss claim.

Non-Economic Damages in PA Med Mal Cases (Pain & Suffering)

Compensation for pain and suffering is designed to compensate the individual for the pain and anguish caused by the at-fault party. Claims for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases vary based on the patient’s pre-incident and post-incident life. The greater the impact on the patient’s life, the greater the pain and suffering.

Related: Pain and Suffering in a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Case

In addition, it is important to note that both economic and non-economic damages claims often include claims for future losses, such as future medical bills or future wage loss. These types of claims require proof, especially future economic loss claims. For instance, a patient who suffers total disability as a result of medical negligence may be able to make a claim for future lost earnings. That claim would need to be calculated by a forensic economist.

Injured patients may also make claims for future pain and suffering. Claims for future pain and suffering damages are designed to compensate the individual for reasonably anticipated future surgeries and other long-term or permanent effects, such as inability to have children, disfigurement, etc.

DISCLAIMER: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. It is crucial to speak to a qualified lawyer prior to making any decision about your case. Read full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.