As a victim of medical malpractice, you can sue for your injuries and all of the direct consequences of those injuries. Actual damages refers to the amount of money it would take to fully compensate you and place you in the same position you would have been in had the injury never taken place. You can recover your actual economic losses such as the costs of reasonable and necessary medical care, rehabilitative services, costs of domestic services, and loss of earnings. The law allows compensation for future medical and care expenses that the claimant can prove will be reasonably necessary to treat the injury caused by the malpractice. The claim may include income the claimant can prove will probably be lost in the future because of the injuries. Loss of earning capacity is also allowed when the patient proves he or she is less able to earn a living as a result of the injuries caused by the malpractice.
You are also entitled to non-economic damages for physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional suffering, physical impairment, inconvenience, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (disruption of your personal relationship with your spouse), etc. There is no definite standard of calculating reasonable compensation for these types of damages other than being just and reasonable in light of the evidence. Non-economic damages are limited to the greater of $250,000 or three times economic damages up to a maximum of $500,000. For permanent and substantial injuries, the limits increase to the greater of 1,000,000 or $35,000 times the claimant’s remaining life expectancy.
In certain instances, damages may be awarded to families of injured claimants for loss of care, companionship, love and affection. Family members can be compensated for the wrongful death of a loved one. These damages may include medical and burial expenses, loss of income that would have supported the family members, and contributions the deceased would have made in the way of comfort, assistance, advice, protection, companionship, etc.
Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant and deter others from similar conduct. Punitive damages may be awarded only if the claimant proves that the defendant acted with malice or intent, not just negligence. Punitive damages may not exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or $100,000. Punitive damage awards against corporate defendant are limited to three times compensatory damages or $250,000. Political subdivisions are immune form liability for punitive damages.