In states across the country, there is a battle going on between doctors, their insurance companies, and the patients/clients that both are supposed to serve. In states like Wisconsin, it seems that doctors and their medical malpractice insurers are winning that battle. While it is arguable that doctors should not fear lawsuits when administering care to patients, they also should be held accountable when they act in a way that is negligent or fail in their duty to do no harm to those patients.
The biggest problem with the medical malpractice conundrum, however, is that it seems that the battle has been fought in the legislatures, rather than the courts as cases have dropped to a record low. This does not mean that someone who is injured by a doctor’s negligence should give up. It just means that it is more important than ever for injured patients to consult with a legal professional about their case so that they can fully understand the pros and cons of going forward with a claim.
Caps on Damages
One of the ways that legislatures control what they believe to be problematic cases is by implementing damage caps. These caps limit the amount an injured party can recover in a lawsuit, and they vary by state. Essentially, members of Congress decide that they know better than juries when it comes to how much an injured victim can recover from a negligent doctor. In Wisconsin, the statutory damages cap on medical malpractice cases for non-economic damages is $750,000 per incident. There are no caps on economic damages.
Types of Damages
Non-economic damages are by their nature difficult to quantify. Examples include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These types of damages are intended to place a monetary value on a non-monetary loss and are highly subjective. It is these types of damages that are splashed across newspaper headlines, and that are most cited to by proponents of legislative caps. Economic damages are those that are more readily apparent and able to be calculated, such as the cost of receiving medical treatment, lost income, and lost earning capacity. These types of damages do not have a capped limit in Wisconsin, but victims will need to be able to show how any requested award was calculated. Anyone who has been injured by a doctor’s negligence should keep in mind that the latter types of damages accounts not only for the costs of past medical care, but also what can reasonably be projected to be incurred for future care as well.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a healthcare professional’s dereliction of duty or gross negligence, call the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. in Chicago today and speak to an attorney about your case. Do not let a doctor or insurance company cheat you out of a fair settlement for your injury. Call today as our attorneys have experience with medical malpractice cases and can discuss your options for recovery.