Basic information that will help you decide how to proceed with your medical malpractice case.
Suffering a painful or debilitating injury when you expected to experience healing can be an extremely upsetting experience. If this has happened to you or a loved one, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim against the medical professional, facility, or pharmaceutical company that provided your treatment. Because filing requirements and legal issues surrounding medical malpractice cases can be quite complicated, you will definitely want to enlist the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney like George G. Romain to help you prepare your case. However, even before you call your attorney, it will be helpful to know these 3 important things about medical malpractice cases in California.
A Mistake Isn’t Necessarily Malpractice
First and foremost, it is vital to understand that not every medical mistake constitutes malpractice. In order to prove malpractice, it is necessary to establish that the care provider breached the standard of care, meaning they failed to act in accordance with generally accepted procedures and practices for the diagnosis and treatment of a given condition. Furthermore, you must prove that this breach in the standard of care directly caused the injury or suffering.
California Has a Cap on Malpractice Awards
In the state of California, the law limits the amount of money a plaintiff may receive in non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain, suffering, disfigurement, and physical impairment. Only $250,000 in this type of compensation may be awarded. Fortunately, another type of compensation is available, namely compensatory or “actual” damages. This form of compensation is not limited, and covers medical bills and lost wages. As a result of these rules about damages, medical malpractice claims are most beneficial for individuals who have serious injuries requiring expensive medical care and/or are high earners.
You Might Want to Settle Instead of Going to Court
The average jury award for medical malpractice is $799,000, whereas the average out of court settlement is $462,000. This might lead you to believe it is in your best interests to take every case to court. However, considering that only 21 percent of plaintiffs win medical malpractice cases in court, you are probably better off accepting a settlement. Your attorney can help you evaluate the merits of any settlements you may be offered and advise you as to whether or not you should accept based on the details of your case and other factors.