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From a financial standpoint, being a victim of medical malpractice is a double whammy. Not only are you already on the hook for the cost of being treated in the first place, but you also may be facing expensive bills for corrective treatments. This combination of medical bills can be too much for many victims to bear, which is why they file compensation claims and lawsuits against the doctors and hospitals that harmed them.
However, the costs of medical malpractice can be enormous. In some cases, victims need revision surgery and long stays in the hospital, which can quickly overwhelm even the best health insurance policies. In these cases, victims may need six-figure or greater settlements. Is it possible to recover that much money in a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit?
When it comes to getting compensation for medical bills and lost wages—which are known as economic damages—medical malpractice victims don’t face any caps. They can sue for any amount of money that will adequately compensate them for what they’ve gone through. This is important, as medical malpractice expenses can be significant not just initially, but also for years to come.
For example, victims may need lifelong care after a surgical error leaves them disabled or in significant pain. They also may be unable to work, which can result in hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars of lost lifelong income. Calculating exactly how much money a medical malpractice injury or illness will cost is why it’s so important to have an experienced lawyer on your side.
While medical malpractice victims can sue for any amount of money for their medical bills and lost wages, they are capped on how much money they can seek for their pain and suffering—which are known as non-economic damages.
In Ohio, medical malpractice victims are capped at seeking $250,000 or three times their economic damages for their pain and suffering, whichever is greater. In addition, there’s another hard cap of $350,000 per plaintiff and $500,000 per case if there are multiple victims.
In the event of catastrophic medical malpractice cases, the cap increases to $500,000 per plaintiff and $1 million in total for multiple victims. This increased cap applies to medical malpractice cases that cause victims to suffer the loss of a limb or organ system, permanent and substantial deformity, and injuries that prevent victims from living independently.
Some medical malpractice claims are accompanied by wrongful death claims when the victims die as a result of the injuries or illnesses they suffer because of their providers’ negligence. Although the families of these victims are still capped on non-economic damages for their medical malpractice claims, they aren’t capped on damages for their wrongful death claims. This change is important, as the pain and suffering related to wrongful deaths is often significant and long-lasting for the family members of the deceased victims.
In most cases, victims have one year from the date of the medical errors that harmed them—or from the date that victims did or could have discovered the errors—to file a lawsuit. The deadline can be extended by 180 days when victims send formal notice to their healthcare providers indicating that they intend to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
There are exceptions to this time limit, and it’s important to contact a lawyer if you think you’re a victim of medical malpractice, even if it has been more than one year since your procedure, diagnosis, injury, or illness occurred. It’s especially important to do so if the victim is a child or was a minor at the time the medical error occurred, as the statute of limitations is paused until they turn 18.
Although there’s a cap on pain and suffering for medical malpractice claims in Ohio, there is no cap on compensation for medical bills and lost wages. Because of that, insurance companies work very hard to pay victims as little money as possible when medical malpractice occurred. One way they achieve that is by offering fast settlements when they know they can’t win.
And while the initial amounts they offer may seem substantial, they often pale in comparison to the lifelong expenses the victims face. Having an experienced Ohio medical malpractice lawyer on your side from day one ensures that you won’t get taken advantage of or agree to a settlement that doesn’t pay you and your loved ones enough money.
Contact Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy today for a free consultation. We’ve helped many families just like yours, and we know what it takes to win.
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