Calculating Pain and Suffering in a Florida Med Mal Case
Florida once again ranked in the Top 10 US states for medical malpractice payouts according to the 2019 Medical Malpractice Payout Report prepared by LeverageRx, an analytics resource and insurance marketplace for doctors. Another key finding in the publication is that, after a steady increase over the last few years, the average settlement for med mal cases is $348,065. The amount is a product of several factors, including the costs to treat injuries from medical mistakes, lost income, and pain and suffering.
While it’s easy to look at documentation regarding medical expenses and lost wages, there’s no paperwork that leads to a definite value of pain and suffering. Still, it’s an important type of compensation that your Florida medical malpractice attorney will seek when filing a claim. There are many considerations involved with calculating the amount, so an overview may be helpful.
Legal Concept of Pain and Suffering: A person injured by a medical error may be entitled to recover two types of damages in a medical malpractice claim. One is economic damages, which have a definite value and include medical bills for treatment and lost wages. The other is non-economic damages, encompassing the physical, emotional, and mental hardships that a victim experiences. Pain and suffering falls in this second category and covers physical discomfort, aching, and soreness – along with the reduction of the quality of life associated with a medical malpractice injury.
Examples of Pain and Suffering in a Florida Med Mal Case: To better understand how pain and suffering works when you seek compensation for medical malpractice, consider the following scenarios:
- A patient suffers significant scarring and disfigurement as the result of a surgical error. He or she might feel embarrassed or self-conscious and experience other emotional anguish due to the appearance of the wound.
- A physician failed to timely diagnose cancer, resulting in the need to amputate the patient’s foot. That person can no longer walk without an assistive device and can’t enjoy a favorite activity, such as hiking, biking, or skiing. Not to mention the pain of the surgical procedures.
- An anesthesia error leaves the patient with permanent brain damage. The individual suffers tremendously by being unable to provide love, affection, and companionship to loved ones.
Calculating Damages for Pain and Suffering: Damages for pain and suffering are subjective and thus difficult to ascertain in terms of value. Nevertheless, there are strategies for establishing pain and suffering. Although there’s no standard formula, the issue comes up in two different contexts:
- If you’re attempting to settle a med mal claim with a health care provider, you’ll typically be dealing with an insurance company. Some insurers will assess your claim for pain and suffering by using a multiplier to calculate such damages – i.e., by taking your economic damages and multiplying that amount by 1.5 or more.
- When you go to trial, the jury will determine what’s fair and reasonable for you to be awarded for your pain and suffering.
Contact Our Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyers for Assistance
From the above, you can see that it’s impossible to provide an accurate figure on what you can recover for pain and suffering in a medical malpractice claim. However, with some information from you, our team at Freidin Brown, P.A. can give you an assessment of what your damages might include. To set up your free consultation, please contact our offices to speak with one of our Miami medical malpractice lawyers.