My wife has been suffering from ongoing illness for almost 8 months caused by a mistake made by our doctor. I want to file a complaint against the doctor. How much money can I expect from a medical malpractice complaint?
There's no way to answer this question
if you're looking for a specific dollar figure. But there are a few
things you need to know when it comes to how medical malpractice
cases work, especially as compared to a typical personal injury case.
As you've probably heard by now, the
vast majority of personal injury cases (car accidents, slip and fall
claims, etc.) end up settling out of court. They may even settle
before a lawsuit is filed. Not so with medical malpractice cases. Of
course, many end up settling before trial, but doctors and other
health care professionals (and their respective insurers) are less
willing to simply cut a check to a patient who claims they were
injured by sub-standard health care.
There are a number of reasons why med
mal cases settle less frequently than other personal injury cases.
One is that the health care industry is concerned with keeping down
the costs of liability insurance, and so you can expect defendants to
put up a fight in all but the most obvious cases of medical
negligence. Another reason is that, as part of tort
reform efforts, most states have set up procedural safeguards
that try to weed out meritless medical malpractice cases before they
make it to court. So, once a case actually gets to court, both sides
may be more inclined to dig in for a fight.
Now, back to your original question.
We'd need to know a lot more about your case -- the severity of the
harm suffered by your wife and the clarity of the doctor's
negligence, for starters -- to get into specifics, but you can take a
look at recent trends and statistics in medical malpractice cases
nationwide to get a general sense of different case outcomes from a
dollar amount standpoint. You'll find that information in the links
by: David Goguen, J.D.