Richmond, VA – All civil lawsuits compensate victims through various kinds of damages. Medical malpractice cases also work the same way. Victims may receive a few different types of compensation depending on their specific losses, but the state also has a damage cap that places an absolute limit on the amount paid out.
Different types of damages available
Economic damages are directly related to the costs of the defendant’s negligence. In medical malpractice cases, this usually means things like additional treatment, care, hospitalization, or surgery that is needed because of the doctor’s mistakes.
Non-economic damages are a form of compensation that is essentially based on the victim’s reduced quality of life. This can include mental and emotional trauma, physical pain, and various other issues tied to the person’s well being. Non-economic damages can be significant if a person is permanently injured or scarred from a young age.
Punitive damages may be available in some cases, but they are rare. There needs to be a finding that the defendant acted recklessly or maliciously. These damages are to punish those kinds of actions, and they are not related to the specific type of harm that the plaintiff suffered.
Damage caps under Virginia law
Virginia is also a unique state in the sense that there is a damage cap placed on medical malpractice cases. This limitation on damages was passed by the state’s legislature decades ago, and it has an annual increase built into the law. Anyone who currently brings a malpractice case should expect their damages to be limited to approximately $2 million. This is true even if the costs of treatment greatly exceed this amount because the injury is permanent or life changing.
Other states may have limitations on non-economic damages for pain and suffering, but Virginia’s limit applies to the total of all types of damages and it even applies if there are multiple plaintiffs. In practice, this may leave parts of the person’s medical bills outstanding and they will need to seek out additional sources of funding.
Specific damages in any case
There are not necessarily any general rules about estimating the value of civil lawsuits, so it is important for victims to get legal help as soon as possible to learn about the potential value of their case. More serious malpractice issues and injuries tend to pay out larger amounts, however this is highly dependent on the facts of the situation and the victim’s particular losses.
Getting in touch with a licensed attorney
USAttorneys.com is a site that lists lawyers by practice area and state. Anyone who needs assistance with medical malpractice issues in Richmond or other parts of the country can use the directory to find the right lawyer for their needs.