This is not an easy question to answer. Medical malpractice settlements depend on so many factors, that it is almost impossible to determine what the average settlement for medical malpractice is. A few headline-grabbing cases may settle for millions, but the amount you receive depends on how badly you were injured and how much you have lost (or had to spend) as a result.
Suing for Compensation After Medical Malpractice
According to Johns Hopkins, a quarter of a million people in the United States die because of medical errors every year. This is in addition to the many people who survive medical errors, but go on to suffer long-term injuries or other negative health effects.
If you or a loved one was the victim of medical malpractice, you already have plenty to worry about. You may have to concern yourself with recovering from your injury and paying for medical treatments. Financial compensation can help you live more comfortably, either in the short term as you recover or in the long term if your injuries are permanent.
To receive financial compensation, you may have to sue for it if you cannot get the insurance company to agree to a settlement. However, it is important to consider the statute of limitations for wrongful death and personal injuries lawsuits in Pennsylvania is two years, as set by 42 Pa. CSA § 5524. This means you have two years from the date of the malpractice to file a lawsuit. Otherwise, you permanently give up your right to do so.
For a free legal consultation, call (412) 661-1400
There are Different Types of Compensation Available
As stated previously, there is no “average” settlement or case. However, the compensation you may ask for in such cases will fall into one of two categories—economic or non economic.
If you spent or lost any money due to medical malpractice, you could be eligible for economic damages. Some examples are listed below.
- Medical expenses. This can include everything from hospital visits and surgery to medication and home nursing. It can also include travel expenses related to your medical treatment.
- Funeral expenses. This can include all costs related to laying your loved one to rest and settling their estate.
- Lost employment. This applies if you lost your job or are no longer able to work because of your injury.
- Reduced earning capacity. This applies if you can still work, but not for as many hours as before or for the same amount of money.
If you were (or are) in physical or emotional pain due to medical malpractice, you could be eligible for noneconomic damages. Some examples of the types of intangible damages you could recover are listed below.
- Pain and suffering. This can include temporary or permanent physical pain stemming from your injuries, as well as any mental disorders you developed due to the trauma of the malpractice or your injuries.
- Disability. This can include any partial or total disability stemming from the malpractice, such as brain damage or chronic pain.
- Loss of society. This applies if you lost a loved one and can no longer turn to them for affection, companionship, or guidance.
- Reduced quality of life. This can include everything from your injuries making it difficult to function to being unable to perform activities you used to enjoy.
The above is only a partial list of damages. You may be entitled to others, depending on the specifics of your case. The exact amount you may recover in damages also depends on the nature of your injuries, how serious they are, and how long they last. All of this, again, makes it difficult to determine what an “average” medical malpractice settlement is.
Reaching a Settlement or Going to Court
By suing for compensation, you are asking the liable party’s insurance company to grant you money in exchange for your losses and suffering. Many insurance companies will offer you a settlement in an attempt to end your case as quickly as possible.
Reaching a settlement quickly is certainly preferable, but insurance companies do not always offer what you deserve right away. You may have to negotiate and present evidence to convince them to give you a fair settlement. This can be difficult. A lawyer can take on this task for you.
In some cases, the insurance company will not offer a fair settlement at all. You will have to choose between accepting less compensation than you deserve and taking the insurance company to court.
Medical malpractice is a complex topic, and everyone’s case is unique. There is very little about such cases that can be called “average.” Do not worry too much about what the average settlement for medical malpractice is. Instead, focus on your own needs.
Berger and Green can help you figure out what a fair settlement is in your case and fight to get you that amount. Contact us at (412) 661-1400 to find out more. We handle cases in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas.