Calculating Atlanta Medical Malpractice Damages

If someone suffers injury or death as a result of a medical professional or hospital’s negligence, they may have a right to medical malpractice damages. Calculating Atlanta medical malpractice damages can be difficult, depending on the nature of the case. A dedicated medical malpractice attorney can help victims and their families recover damages when their lives have been altered by medical malpractice.

Understanding Atlanta Medical Malpractice Damages

Calculating Atlanta medical malpractice damages can be placed into the two broad categories of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are damages that can be proven easily by documents and testimony. For example, a person’s medical expenses can be presented to show how much those services cost and how much they were billed. They are known numbers that attorneys can present and say all the past expenses for this patient’s past medical care related to this injury are a specified amount of money. Economic damages are hard numbers or lost wages. Attorneys can put in evidence what the person’s income was like before and how that was affected by the injury.

Non-economic damages are considered to be the non-tangible, like pain and suffering, loss, or the value of services. If a wrongful death case, the value of someone’s life would be calculated as a non-economic damage that was caused by medical malpractice. Those types of damages are left to the jury in what is called the enlightened consciousness of the jury. Attorneys present testimony from friends and family members and from the injured plaintiff about how their life has changed. Then the jury determines how much to award for those non-economic damages.

Who Calculates Damages?

Ultimately, a jury is responsible for calculating Atlanta medical malpractice damages. A jury will calculate the damages in an Atlanta medical malpractice case. Attorneys for the plaintiff will present to the jury the numbers and then suggest what the jury can award, but it is within the jury’s determination of how much will actually be awarded.

Atlanta is very fortunate in that there is no cap on damages for medical malpractice cases. The legislature attempted to impose caps in 2005, but the Supreme Court of Georgia overruled that law. Therefore, there are no caps on damages.

Considering Punitive Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case

When calculating Atlanta medical malpractice damages, punitive damages may arise in a medical malpractice case. Take this example: a hospital employs a nurse who has repeatedly made mistakes related to patient care, like giving a patient 10 times the amount of medication ordered by a physician on several occasions. If this continues to happen and the facility or hospital continues to employ that nurse, allows them to continue to care for patients and does nothing while knowing the nurse is problematic, then if the patient under that nurse’s care dies or is seriously injured, then that would call for punitive damages.

The hospital knew the dangers of continuing to employ a negligent nurse, consciously ignored that problem, and put other patients at risk. This would be a case that an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer could argue for punitive damages because the defendant, which would be the facility or hospital in this example, ignored that problem and put patients at risk.