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Are Damages Limited or Capped in Medical Malpractice Cases In Washington?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on September 11, 2023
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes harm or injury to a patient. Such instances can be devastating, leaving the patient grappling with both physical harm and emotional distress.
By filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, victims can recover financial compensation to help pay for any losses that they have experienced. When filing a legal claim, it is important to be aware of any limitations that may apply to your case—including any caps on potential damages.
Damages Available in a Washington Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
A medical mistake can have a profound impact on your life, leading to serious injuries, emotional distress, and financial hardship. Medical malpractice claims seek to help victims recover from these incidents and regain their financial standing.
There are two main types of damages that victims could recover in these lawsuits: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to tangible financial losses that can be quantified, such as:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Lost wages due to time off work
- Costs of future medical care
- Rehabilitation and therapy expenses
On the other hand, non-economic damages encompass more intangible losses, which can still have profound effects on the patient’s quality of life. Examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement or physical impairment
Washington Has No Caps on Damages in Medical Malpractice Claims
Damage caps are tort reform laws that place a limit on the amount of compensation that a claimant can receive in a lawsuit. These caps can be applied to the overall damages, specific types like non-economic damages, or certain lawsuits, like medical malpractice claims.
Many states have implemented damage caps due to concerns over the rising cost and availability of medical liability insurance. However, some people argue that these caps have the unintended consequence of reducing the quality of medical care, leading to an increase in claims. In any case, one fact is clear: damage caps often prioritize institutional or professional interests over the victim’s right to fair compensation.
Fortunately, victims of medical malpractice in Washington state are not restricted by such caps. If you file a medical malpractice lawsuit and are successful in your claim, you have the right to recover the full value of your settlement as determined by the judge or a jury.
How to Calculate Your Medical Malpractice Award
When filing a medical malpractice claim, determining the value of your lawsuit can be a complex process. However, it is important to have a clear idea of your losses so that you can advocate for the highest possible settlement. Accepting an insufficient award could lead to hardship later on in your life.
No two medical malpractice lawsuits are the same, and several factors could influence the value of your settlement. These may include:
- The severity of your injuries
- The presence of any permanent disabilities
- Your ability to work after you recover from the medical malpractice
- The number of days that you took off work to recover from the incident
- Whether you file an insurance claim or escalate to a lawsuit
- Whether you hire an attorney to represent your interests
To maximize your chances of a fair settlement, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as you can. A Seattle medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine the value of the award and fight for your right to recovery. Schedule a free consultation with Colburn Law as soon as possible to plan your next steps.