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August 31 - Newsblog #1
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner and Wife Sue over Police Shooting
September 7 - Newsblog #2
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner’s Possession of Handgun Legal Under 2nd Amendment
September 14 - Newsblog #3
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: if a Government or Government Agency is at Fault, You Can Sue
September 21 - Newsblog #4
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Lawsuit Against Police Department Invokes the Civil Rights Act
September 28 - Newsblog #5
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: a Clear Line from the Action – or Inaction – to the Injury
October 12 - Newsblog #6
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Insensitivity Turns Traffic Stop into a Travesty
October 19 - Newsblog #7
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Who Abuse Power Must Be Held Accountable, Law Professor States
October 26 - Newsblog #8
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Holding Overly Aggressive Police Accountable
November 2 - Newsblog #9
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Brown Vs. Impd Case About Much More Than Punishment or Money
November 9 - Newsblog #10
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Improper Medical Diagnosis and Care Resulted in Loss of an Eye
November 16 - Newsblog #11
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Medical Malpractice Claims Have a Front End and a Back End
November 30 - Newsblog #12
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Truths About Medical Malpractice
December 7 - Newsblog #13
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Yes, You Can Sue City Hall
December 14 - Newsblog #14
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Slip and Fall Changes Two Lives Forever
December 28 - Newsblog #15
In the News: Ramey & Hailey Year in Review
January 4 - Newsblog #16
In the News: Teen’s Sexual Abuse Case Calls Attention to the Problem
January 11 - Newsblog #17
In the News: Parents of Survivor Sue Parents of Shooter
January 18 - Newsblog #18
In the News: Erin Brockovich Teams Up with Indiana Moms
January 25 - Newsblog #19
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Case Settled in Favor of Catastrophic Slip and Fall Injury Victim
January 31 - Newsblog #20
In the News: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Rehab Facility
February 8 - Newsblog #21
In the News: Nurse Arrested in Sexual Abuse Case
February 15 - Newsblog #22
In the News: Running the Clock on Indiana Medical Malpractice
February 22 - Newsblog #23
In the News: to Repeal or Not to Repeal – Indiana Legislators Rule “not”
March 1 - Newsblog #24
In the News: Helping Physicians Keep Helping
March 8 - Newsblog #25
In the News: Parents of Brain-damaged Infant Sue Hospital
March 15 - Newsblog #26
In the News: Owner of Gun Wins Decision
March 22 - Newsblog #27
In the News: Indiana House Passes Long Term Care Protections Bill
April 5 - Newsblog #28
In the News: Slip-and-fall Victim Wins Right to Sue Dollar Tree
April 12 - Newsblog #29
In the News: Inspection Report Shows Vets Harmed at 52 Nursing Homes
April 19 - Newsblog #30
In the News: Sandwich Diversion Causes Fatal Two-semitrailer Crash
April 26 - Newsblog #31
In the News: Does Premises Liability Cover Goose Attacks?
May 10 - Newsblog #32
Two-week-old N.y. Verdict Offers Takeaways for Slip and Fall Victims
May 17 - Newsblog #33
In the News: Barrel Blast Triggers Wrongful Death Lawsuit
May 24 - Newsblog #34
In the News: when a Product Manufacturer is Not at Fault
May 31 - Newsblog #35
In the News – College Doc’s Sexual Abuse of Students Coming to Light
June 7 - Newsblog #36
In the News – One Week, Four Motorcycle Accidents
June 14 - Newsblog #37
List of Troubled Nursing Homes Released
June 21 - Newsblog #38
In the News: Kansas No-caps Ruling Changes Personal Injury Climate
June 28 - Newsblog #39
In the News: Jury Awards $10.5 Million for Pain and Suffering in Birth Injury Case
July 5 - Newsblog #40
In the News: More Indicted in Last Year’s Duck Boat Tragedy
July 17 - Newsblog #41
In the News: Richard Hailey on Litigation Team for Lawsuit Vs. Tesla
July 24 - Newsblog #42
In the News: Malpractice Lawsuit Yields Largest Award in History
August 28 - Newsblog #43
In the News: Trucks V. Passenger Cars – Score 18:116. Everybody Loses
December 4 - Newsblog #44
In the News: High School Chaplain Suspended on Allegations of Sexual Abuse
December 11 - Newsblog #45
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 11 - Newsblog #46
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 18 - Newsblog #47
In the News: Parents of Bus Accident Victim Awarded $20 Million
January 8 - Newsblog #48
In the News: Parents Sue After Daughter’s Brain Damaged in Surgery
January 10 - Newsblog #49
In the News: Trucking Accidents Due to Careless Driving Increase

Medical Malpractice Newsletter

Determining Damages in Medical Malpractice Suits

When a doctor or other health care provider engages in conduct (or fails to take action) that results in a patient’s injury or death, the patient and/or family may have a medical malpractice claim. Most cases are based upon a theory of negligence: that the care provided failed to meet required generally accepted standards of care. Although the standard of care varies by state and the medical specialty at issue, it is generally defined as what a reasonably competent health care practitioner would have done under the same or similar circumstances.

Recovery of Damages

Victims of medical malpractice may sue and seek recovery for all damages directly resulting from malpractice, including actual economic losses and “non-economic” damages. The amount awarded for damages usually depends on many different factors, such as the severity of the injury, the degree of negligence involved, pre-existing injuries and past medical history. Often, the award is higher where there is a significant difference in the victim’s quality of life before and after the injury.

Economic Damages

Economic damages may include:

  • Costs of reasonable and necessary medical care
  • Rehabilitative services
  • Loss of earnings
  • Estimated reasonable costs of future medical care and expenses
  • Loss of earning capacity and potential future income

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more difficult to assess, but may include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional suffering
  • Physical impairment or disfigurement
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium (disruption of intimate relations with a spouse)

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are intended to punish and deter others from similar conduct, rather than compensate. The burden of proof that must be established prior to receiving such an award varies by state. But generally, there must be clear and convincing evidence that the health care provider acted intentionally or in “reckless disregard” of a known danger to the patient’s safety and welfare. Due to this stringent standard, punitive damage awards are rare in medical malpractice cases.

Damages for a Victim’s Family

Damages may also be awarded to a victim’s family to compensate for the loss of care, companionship, love and affection. Additionally, “wrongful death” damages may be awarded to the family. These types of awards also vary by state and may include:

  • Medical and burial expenses
  • Loss of income that would have supported family members
  • Emotional suffering
  • Loss of the pleasure of the family relationship

Limits on Damage Awards

Many states have laws that limit the amount of damages in malpractice cases (usually for non-economic damages). Many of these laws were prompted by complaints from health care providers and other organizations such as the American Medical Association regarding claimed excessive jury awards and resulting increased premiums for malpractice insurance.

In July 2003, a federal bill, H.R. 4280, that would have limited non-economic damage awards in medical malpractice cases was narrowly defeated in Congress. In May 2004, after being reintroduced, the bill was passed in the House, but was never passed by the Senate. Some of the stated purposes of the bill included the following:

  • Increase the availability of health care services which have become less available where liability actions are shown to have been a cause of the decreased availability
  • Reduce the occurrences of “defensive medicine” and reduce the costs of health insurance
  • Ensure that individuals with “meritorious” health care liability actions are treated equitably
  • Provide standards regarding the availability and limits of damages awards in health care lawsuits in order to improve the “fairness and cost-effectiveness of our current health care liability system.”
  • Increase the sharing of health care information in order to improve patient care

Critics of the bill asserted that increased malpractice insurance rates are a result of bad investments by insurance companies, not awards in actual cases. Even though H.R. 4280 never became law, given the extent of the U.S. health care crisis, it appears likely that similar legislation will continue to be introduced in the future on both federal and state levels.

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