Learning More About Medical Malpractice Damages

You may never expect to be considering the word "damages" after a medical procedure or experience. After all, most people go to doctors in the expectation of getting better and not ending up with "damages." This word takes on a new meaning when dealing with wrongdoing by medical practitioners and facilities, though. Read on to find out more about this medical malpractice issue.

General Damages

If you can think back to how it felt to realize that you had been harmed by a medical situation, that might give you an idea of what general damages are. General damages encompass the general way your life has been negatively affected by medical malpractice – from emotional distress to more serious mood disorders like depression and anxiety. To be paid for this category of damages, it might be helpful to keep a journal detailing your day-to-day struggles with the after-effects of the medical malpractice situation. Not to be dismissed is the way it has affected your loved ones, too.


Special damages may be more accurately described as specific damages. These damages are concrete forms of harm that can be easily calculated by the dollar amount. Any expenses a victim incurs should be kept up with and reimbursed. In addition to past and present expenses, don't forget about any potential future needs going forward. Take a look at just a few common expenses victims encounter that are included in the specials category.

  • Medical expenses to address any issues caused by the practitioner or facility.
  • Lost wages from being out of work.
  • Long-term career damage for those permanently disabled.
  • Travel and transportation costs to deal with the harm done to the victim. For example, you may need to travel to a distant medical facility to have a medical issue addressed.

Punitive Damages

This form of damage is not always present in all cases. To be eligible for punitive damages, the harm done must be especially grievous and severe. Victims cannot ask for this damage category – it's up to the judge or jury to decide if the medical malpractice case warrants it. Here are a few examples of when punitive damages might be called for:

  1. A hospital allowed an unqualified surgeon to perform surgeries and harm several patients.
  2. A medical practitioner who was known to have past addiction problems was employed and caused harm to a patient.
  3. An inadequate disease control protocol and training guidelines at a medical facility led to widespread infections.

Not all personal injury lawyers deal with medical malpractice cases. Speak to a medical malpractice lawyer to learn more.