Every malpractice case is different. However, the average for most medical malpractice claims settling outside of court falls under $1 million, while those determined by a jury often go over $1 million.
It is important to realize that averages are based on numerous cases each year and the amount awarded in those cases. No two malpractice cases are the same. Therefore, while someone might get a jury award of $1 million, your case could receive much less or higher, depending on the variables.
Variables heavily impact how much you will receive in a medical malpractice case. These include the type of negligence, the extent of your injuries, your financial losses, and more. The only way to see how much your malpractice case is worth is to speak with an attorney that works in this area of injury law. An attorney will review your case and determine not only if you have a valid claim, but the amount you are likely to receive out of court.
Exploring the Variables That Impact a Medical Malpractice Claim Settlement Amount
As stated before, certain variables will affect the amount of your medical malpractice settlement. Even two claims with similar injuries can have very different outcomes. Assuming that you will fall somewhere in the “average” is not the best approach, and you could end up accepting less than you deserve if you are basing private negotiations solely on an average.
Before you assume how much your malpractice case is worth, review these common variables:
1. Representation – Do You Have an Attorney?
One of the biggest variables is representation. Clients that hire an attorney to represent them in negotiations with an insurance company are more likely to receive a high settlement than those trying to negotiate alone.
With an attorney, you have someone with years of experience in handling claims just like yours. They know how claims’ adjusters work, how the court reviews evidence, and they can predict your settlement after reviewing your case much more accurately than just comparing your case to the average settlement amount.
Also, insurance companies are more likely to settle when you have an attorney than without one. Without representation, malpractice insurance companies will work hard to stall the process. Their hope is that you will be too financially exhausted to fight and that you will accept a settlement lower than what you deserve.
2. Evidence – How Much Evidence Do You Have Proving Malpractice Occurred?
Another critical variable is the evidence.
How much evidence do you have showing that the medical professional or entity was negligent? Do your medical records show that they committed an error or that they provided substandard medical care?
Sometimes, the evidence is easily collected. Other times, you need a professional to help gather the evidence. Often, malpractice comes down to witness testimony, your medical records, and putting the pieces together so that a judge or jury can see that the physician caused your injuries by failing to provide an acceptable standard of care.
3. Damages – How Much Were Your Financial Losses?
It is hard to put a value on injuries, pain, and the suffering you experience after you are the victim of malpractice, and some of the calculations are easier to do than others. For example, your direct financial losses. These are the ones you can easily calculate to see how much you lost from your injuries.
- Medical Expenses – How much you paid in medical costs to recover from your injuries that were the direct result of medical malpractice. This can include future medical costs as well – especially if your injuries are so severe that you will require long-term medical care.
- Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity – In this case, you are calculating how much time you missed from work and the associated wages you missed to recover, attend meetings with your attorney, and even the time the trial took while you were in court. If you are permanently disabled, then any loss of future earnings, promotions, and benefits you would have received if you had continued to work are included in the value of your settlement. The same goes for partial disability. Perhaps you can return to work, but maybe you cannot return at the same capacity, which impacts your ability to earn the same wages and potential future wages that you would have earned if you were not injured.
4. Severity of the Injury – How Serious and Permanent Are Your Injuries?
One question that results in a higher settlement value is the permanence of your injuries. If you suffered from a medical error but you will recover fully from that instance, then you will not receive as high of a settlement as someone who is permanently disabled or whose lifespan is shortened because of the malpractice.
For example, a misdiagnosis leads to a delay in critical treatment for breast cancer. By the time the patient is diagnosed correctly, their cancer has spread and they are no longer a candidate for treatment. In this case, the patient would receive a much higher settlement than one who had the chance to recover.
5. Case History and Verdicts in Your Area – What Have Others Received for Their Cases
Another important variable is history. More importantly, what have other victims of medical malpractice received in your area. Your wages and cost of living do impact the total settlement value, and when your wages are lower on average in that area, it affects your projected income.
Also, insurance companies will consider what similar cases to yours have received in jury awards from courtrooms near you and determine if it is worth the fight or if they should settle.
Hire an Attorney First
If you think you are a victim of medical malpractice, the first step is to speak with an attorney in your area that has experience handling these types of cases.
Attorney Seth Gladstein can help you with your case. He has helped countless victims of malpractice receive the compensation they deserve after malpractice injuries – and he can help you, too. Schedule a free case evaluation now by calling his office or request more information online.