The manner in which medical malpractice is addressed in countries around the world varies widely. For example, many countries do not permit jury trials. In these locations, judges or administrators may make the final decision. Moreover, malpractice awards, even when they are given, are often much lower than amounts received in the United States, giving rise to the argument that injured patients may not be fully compensated for their losses in overseas jurisdictions. Plus, there are logistical difficulties. A foreign lawsuit necessitates retention of a foreign attorney and physical presence in the foreign country for legal proceedings. Importantly, many foreign countries do not permit attorneys to take cases on a contingency fee basis.
Thank you for your comment, Ziggy. It might interest you that the Court's exact language was: "We do not regard the sending of truthful information pertaining to the criminal conviction of an admittedly rough-and-tumble labor official to his fellow union members, the placing of such a person under the kind of surveillance indicated in this record, or the sending of truthful information about his extramarital affair to his wife to meet the test [of outrageousness]."
Damages for negligence—if you prove there was negligence and the negligence caused your injury or illness, a court may order the doctor, hospital, or healthcare provider to pay you damages for the harm the negligence caused. This can include lost earnings, medical and other expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. This last category is the court’s attempt to compensate you for the effect of the negligence on your life, in general. The doctor is responsible only for the harm that their negligence caused. For example, say you consented to surgery that would require you to take 2 months off work to recover, if done properly. But the surgeon was negligent and as a result you had to take 6 months off. In this case, you would be paid only for the extra 4 months of lost earnings caused by the negligence. You would not be compensated for the first 2 months off because you had consented to that. And you still would have had to take the 2 months off if the surgery had gone as planned.
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This is really so painful to re-live. All of the attorneys I discussed my case with said that what was done to me was clearly negligence and that the case had merit indeed. However, the potential award would have fallen below the $250,000 mark, and to fight it would have been a gamble because jurors – for whatever reason – see physicians in a “can do no wrong” light and may decide in favor of the negligent doctor. I wanted to fight it out of principle more than anything else.
Current pain and suffering is the time period from the time of your injury, to the completion of all your medical treatment. Future pain and suffering are more broad, as the exact time frame is unknown. Your injury may cause you to endure both physical pain and discomfort, and emotional pain, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, memory loss, or insomnia.
Because her breast cancer had not been treated in time, it had actually metabolized—or spread—to her lymph nodes. She immediately underwent a mastectomy and began a radiation and chemotherapy routine. However, because of the advanced stages of this cancer, it spread to her bloodstream and to her bones. As noted at trial—and looking at the facts of the spread of cancer—she might not live for much longer.
There are no guidelines for determining the value of a malpractice victim’s pain and suffering. A jury cannot look at a chart to figure out how much to award for pain and suffering. In most states, judges simply instruct juries to use their good sense, background, and experience in determining what would be a fair and reasonable figure to compensate for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. Because juries are given so little guidance about how to calculate damages for pain and suffering, awards of pain and suffering damages can vary widely among plaintiffs with similar injuries.
"The really troubling thing about this case is that nothing could have been done to change the [baby's] condition," said Daniel Rovner, an attorney for Chester County Hospital, one of the defendants. "There was no treatment, nothing medically that could have been done. The bigger picture is that the plaintiff's bar is going to use this as an attempt to expand the law to explain emotional distress."
In my experience, many problems that spiral out of control could have been tackled sooner. You may have been kept waiting a long time for your hospital appointment, or a member of staff was rude to you. Perhaps you felt an elderly relative wasn’t getting adequate pain relief, or even enough to drink. In these circumstances, do as you would in any restaurant when you aren’t happy: ask to speak to a manager.
Before you sue your doctor for medical malpractice, take some time to consider whether you believe your case meets the threshold for a medical malpractice claim. Did your doctor breach the medical standard of care and did that breach cause you to suffer damages? Be honest with yourself. But for your doctor’s breach of the standard of care, would your injuries have occurred? If your answers are “yes” and “no” to those questions, your case may have a shot. If you can allege, with expert support, that your doctor breached the standard of care, and but for his breach your injuries would not have occurred, your case will likely not be immediately dismissed.