Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyer Explains Medical Malpractice Damages
Cases of medical practice in the U.S. range from 15,000 to 19,000 every year, according to the Medical Malpractice Center. Thankfully the medical malpractice law allows victims to recover compensation from injuries due to medical errors. An Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer explains the basics of medical malpractice damages including existing caps.
Personal Injury Damages
Medical malpractice happens when a healthcare professional or employee neglects to offer proper treatment, omits important actions in relation to treatment, or applies substandard treatment that harms, injures, or causes the death of a patient.
The amount of damages that are recoverable from medical malpractice depends on the case and applicable types of damages. Damages can be categorized as (1) economic and (2) noneconomic. Under Oklahoma law, economic damages refer to the monetary consequences of medical errors. If you’re already a working adult and became injured because of medical errors, you can claim for lost wages or lost earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, and other financial costs due to bodily injuries.
Noneconomic damages are meant to compensate for nonmonetary harms. Oklahoma statutes cover these noneconomic damages: pain and suffering, loss of companionship, care, training, education and advice, disfigurement, mental anguish, and other intangible forms of losses. Noneconomic damages are subjective and can vary widely for every plaintiff. For instance, the losses of a spouse can differ from the losses of a child who would also lose education, protection, and counsel if the parent has been disfigured and unable to care for the latter. Noneconomic damages can then have wide psychological impacts that can be properly recovered.
Time Limits and Caps on Damages
The Statute of Limitations provides a limited duration for filing damages. Oklahoma law states that you only have two years to make a claim for personal injury from medical malpractice.
In addition, there’s a limit or cap to the compensation that can be given to plaintiffs of medical malpractice cases. While economic damages do not have cap limits, noneconomic types have restrictions. Oklahoma Statutes section 23-61.2 caps non-economic damages at $350,000 in all civil cases of personal injury. It is possible for the cap to not apply though if the court determines that there’s “clear and convincing” evidence that the defendant behaved with gross negligence, recklessly disregarded the rights of the patient, had fraudulent intent, or acted with malice or intent to harm the plaintiff.
Medical malpractice can result in potentially long-term economic and noneconomic damages, especially when victims experience disabilities. To understand what you can claim for more fully, contact an Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer the moment you feel that you’ve been harmed by a medical error.
“Does Oklahoma cap damages in medical malpractice cases?” Nolo.com
“Oklahoma Negligence Laws,” StateLaws.FindLaw.com