How are non-economic damage settlements decided?

Imagine walking into Inova for a routine skin biopsy one day, and being wheeled out a week later with an uncertain future. Although the biopsy was only supposed to take 24 hours from start to finish, your week long stay was the result of an infection caused by a dirty scalpel; your uncertain future is the direct result of that infection making your entire leg necrotic, whereupon it had to be amputated.

You know you have grounds for a major insurance claim, but will it be enough to reconcile the pain, anxiety, and difficulty that will now be associated with the rest of your life?

When you or a loved one suffer from the careless actions of a medical professional, it’s hard to even fathom assigning a value to it; it’s almost like agreeing that the pain is worth it, as long as you’re paid enough for it. That really isn’t the case: the nature of non-economic damages is that you can’t put a monetary value on the losses.

So how do you and your lawyer determine a reasonable estimate for non-economic damages?

Factors in Non-economic Damage Settlements

It is extremely hard to predict how a judge, jury, insurance adjuster, or defense lawyer will value your suffering. However, an experienced lawyer can help you estimate a potential settlement based on three things: past cases, damage caps, and severity of circumstances.

  • Settlements awarded to past cases where the circumstances of the malpractice were similar
  • Damage caps for the year in question: each state has varying caps on non-economic damages per year of when the negligence occurred; for example, Maryland’s non-economic cap is $710,000 for negligence that happened in 2012 (wrongful death cases cap is a little higher in most cases)
  • Quantifying severity of damages and then assigning realistic value for each; the value can also be taken from previous cases
     

Unfortunately, a good portion of medical malpractice injuries cannot be reversed but will remain as permanent reminders of that negligence. Therefore, the only compensatory legal action and justice available is by monetary settlements for past, present and future recovery. Don’t allow a low settlement to reflect injustice for your suffering; make sure your settlement reflects the justice you deserve by letting our experience work for you.

Contact us today for a free consultation about your damage rights and possible settlement value. We’re here to fight, so you don’t have to. Please, call today!

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