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Determining the Value of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

The value of a medical malpractice lawsuit will largely depend on your damages and whether you decide to settle out of court. For a case-specific estimation of your lawsuit’s potential value, it’s best to speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. In the meantime, here’s an outline of how medical malpractice cases are usually valued.

Determining the Value of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

When you file an insurance claim or lawsuit against a negligent physician or healthcare provider, the goal is to recover fair damages for your losses. Damages refer to sums of money you wish to recover as compensation for various specific losses you’ve suffered. 

As each medical malpractice lawsuit has its own unique set of facts, circumstances, and losses suffered, damages can vary a great deal from case to case. For each of your damages, you’ll need to prove how the defendant is liable for that particular loss and why it’s worth the monetary value you claim.

What Economic Damages Will You Pursue?

There are two primary types of damages: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to losses with a clear and objective monetary value. This would include your medical bills and lost wages from missed work, both of which are usually straightforward to prove by presenting hospital bills, past wage stubs, and perhaps statements from your doctor and employer. Any out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of your injury would also be included in economic damages.

In more serious cases involving long-term injuries, you might also claim economic damages for future medical expenses and future lost wages resulting from a diminished capacity to earn a living. Your doctors and other medical experts may be required to help estimate future medical costs, while vocational recuperation experts might help to predict the value of future lost earnings. Determining the value of future damages is often challenging and requires a skillful attorney.

What Non-Economic Damages Will You Claim?

Non-economic damages refer to losses that don’t have a clear objective monetary value, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, impairment and disability, disfigurement and scarring, and loss of enjoyment in life. While less tangible in nature, these non-economic losses can nevertheless be extremely severe and detrimental to the injured victim. As such, they should be fairly compensated for.

However, as receipts cannot be presented to support the monetary value of damages such as pain and suffering, non-economic damages often become a point of contention in a lawsuit. The defendant and their legal team are likely to dispute these damages and negotiate to reduce them. Proving the value of your non-economic damages may require plenty of supporting evidence, including expert witness testimony.

Calculating the Value of Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are often valued using a multiplier method, where the attorney will value the total non-economic damages as a multiple of the total economic damages. The multiplier will often be from one to five times the economic damages, depending on the severity of the case. The final amount awarded by the jury will often depend on the quality of evidence presented by both sides and the persuasiveness of each attorney.

Will You Settle Out of Court or Allow a Jury To Decide?

When determining the value of a medical malpractice case, another important factor is whether or not you accept a settlement. When cases make it to court and are decided by a jury trial verdict, successful outcomes often result in a higher payout.

However, there tends to be more unpredictability involved in a jury trial. There’s no guarantee of what the jury will decide, so you may face a loss and no payout at all. When this risk factor is taken into account, plaintiffs and defendants alike often choose to settle out of court, provided that a settlement figure can be reached that satisfies both parties.

Calculating a Fair Settlement Figure

One method of valuing a fair settlement amount is to multiply the amount you expect to win in court by the estimated percentage chance you have of winning. So if you expect a verdict award of $1.5 million, but you estimate that you only have a 50% chance of winning, a fair settlement amount may be $750,000.

How Good Is Your Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

Your choice of attorney will have a huge impact on the value of your medical malpractice lawsuit. In such a complex and specialized field of law, it’s important to hire a seasoned attorney with a long track record of successful medical malpractice cases that were resolved both in and out of court. Find out more here about one of Maryland’s finest and most experienced medical malpractice attorneys and how they can help you. 

While medical malpractice cases can be challenging to win, they also frequently result in higher settlements and verdict awards than most other types of personal injury lawsuits. With the right lawyer by your side, determining your damages and negotiating on your behalf, you’re far more likely to win full and fair compensation for your losses.

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