How Much Can You Get from a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Posted in: Medical Malpractice | Aug 11,2022

When you or someone you love enters a hospital or other healthcare facility, you trust the healthcare professionals responsible for your treatment. The results can be devastating when doctors, nurses, or other hospital staff fail to meet the standard of care. The patient may suffer a worsened condition, prolonged illness, medical bills, pain, and emotional distress. Understandably, one of the most common questions when someone is dealing with negligence is, “how much can you get from a medical malpractice lawsuit?” This post discusses average settlements and the factors that affect them.

What is the Average Settlement for a Malpractice Lawsuit?

The complexity of medical malpractice lawsuits makes it difficult to answer finitely questions like:

  • What is the maximum payout for medical negligence? 
  • How much are most medical malpractice settlements? 
  • What is the average settlement for a malpractice lawsuit?”

However, the Journal of the American Medical Association calculated the average settlement for many medical malpractice lawsuits and determined the average settlement amount was $329,565. However, the amount of a malpractice settlement varies based on the type of medical specialty involved, the state where the malpractice occurred, the severity of the damages inflicted, and more.

Medical malpractice case settlements are based on several factors unique to each case. Indiana law places a damages cap of $1.8 million for medical malpractice cases after 2019. 

The largest medical malpractice lawsuit verdict in U.S. history was reached in 2019 when a Maryland woman was awarded a $205 million jury verdict after her daughter suffered a brain injury during birth. 

How are Malpractice Settlements Calculated?

Three types of damages comprise medical malpractice settlements: economic damages (also known as compensatory damages), non-economic damages, and punitive damages. 

Economic Damages: Economic or compensatory damages reimburse the patient and their family for financial losses resulting from medical negligence. These may include hospital bills, medications, lost wages, ongoing therapy or at-home care, and other losses. 

Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages include intangibles like pain, suffering, and mental anguish. Non-economic damages consider the extent to which the patient’s injury or illness has altered their quality of life and how it will affect them in the future. 

Punitive Damages: Punitive damages punish the negligent party in rare cases of extreme negligence or recklessness. 

Medical Malpractice Settlement Process

  • In Indiana, plaintiffs (victims) must present their medical malpractice claim to a Medical Review Panel before filing a lawsuit. To do this, you must file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance. It is worth consulting a medical malpractice attorney to assist you with this process. 
  • Before addressing the Medical Review Panel, your attorney will meet with you to discuss the details of your situation and learn as much as possible about what happened. 
  • Your attorney will need access to all related information, including medical records related to the incident, so you must sign a release to permit them access. 
  • With the help of expert witnesses, your attorney will start a claim with the Indiana Department of Insurance. Once the Medical Review Panel has rendered its opinion of your claim, you can move forward with a lawsuit. 
  • Your medical malpractice lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to secure a maximum settlement, or they may bring your case to trial if they cannot reach a satisfactory settlement. 

How Long Do Most Malpractice Cases Last?

Medical malpractice cases are notoriously challenging. They often require the help of experts in highly specialized fields. What’s more, hospitals and their insurers are adept at fighting malpractice claims. Medical negligence cases can take anywhere from one to five years, depending on the case’s complexity. This lengthy process is why it is vital to have an experienced legal team who can handle matters efficiently and meet your needs throughout the process.

Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims

There are many reasons one might sue for negligence. Some of the most common examples of medical malpractice include:

Diagnosis Errors – Diagnosis errors include misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and unreasonably delayed diagnosis. Diagnostic mistakes can cause patients’ conditions to go untreated and become life-threatening or cause them to undergo unnecessary and risky surgeries or treatments. 

Failure to Treat – Failure to treat a condition properly can result in injury or even death of a patient. 

Birth Injuries – Injuries to a child during pregnancy, labor, and delivery can cause lifelong defects and disabilities. 

Surgical Errors – Surgical errors such as leaving a sponge behind or operating on the wrong body part can result in irreversible adverse patient outcomes. 

Other common medical errors include anesthesia errors, medication errors, neglect, abuse, and more. 

Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death

In the most tragic cases, medical mistakes can lead to the death of a patient. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you recover a settlement for wrongful death and hold the negligent party accountable. 

Wrongful death settlements are difficult to navigate while mourning the loss of a loved one. To receive the maximum payout for medical negligence, seek an expert attorney. 

The Bottom Line

Montross Miller has helped victims of medical negligence recover millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.