Under Georgia’s statute on medical malpractice, you may have a claim for damages if you were injured or lost a loved one because of negligence, mistakes, or other misconduct. The law goes into detail regarding who can be held liable, including professionals who provide health, medical, and surgical services. Entities such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other facilities may also be accountable for a patient’s injuries. However, the statute doesn’t provide information on what types of damages are available.
It’s not necessary for you to have in-depth knowledge of the damages you can recover, since your Georgia medical malpractice lawyer will handle the specifics and get the full compensation you’re allowed by law. Still, you may find it useful to understand the basics behind damages in a medical malpractice claim.
Medical Bills: Even when you received treatment that didn’t conform to relevant standards of care, you still incur costs related to the associated services. You may be able to recover for these expenses, as well as the amounts you expended to treat the resulting injuries. Plus, Georgia medical malpractice laws often cover your future medical expenditures. In a successful claim, you may obtain reimbursement for past, current, and future costs for:
- Emergency treatment;
- Surgery, including cosmetic and restorative procedures;
- Hospital admission;
- Treatment from specialists;
- Ongoing physical therapy;
- At-home or nursing home services;
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications; and,
- Transportation costs to and from health care facilities.
Lost Wages: Medical malpractice injuries can be so serious that they keep you away from your job. You could miss several weeks or months entirely, or you may only be able to work in a limited capacity. In certain occupations, you’ll miss out on business or professional opportunities that you would have been able to take advantage of if you were healthy. Your entire household could be adversely affected with the loss of income.
Plus, there may come a time when you’ve reached your maximum level of recovery, but will never be able to earn what you did before medical malpractice affected your life. Georgia law does take these factors into account through the lost wages type of damages.
Pain and Suffering: Some types of damages aren’t easily quantifiable in dollar amounts, but you still suffer the consequences of medical malpractice. Generally, these losses are termed “pain and suffering” or “non-economic” damages. They include:
- Diminished quality of life from not being able to enjoy favorite activities;
- The loss of independence and other implications from having to rely on others for care; and,
- Emotional effects, such as depression, anxiety, anger, and suicidal tendencies.
Pain and suffering are an important issue when the root cause of the medical malpractice claim is due to failure to diagnose cancer. There’s a significant emotional distress involved when you find out that you’ve been afflicted with the disease for some time, and should have been undergoing treatment to treat it. At the other extreme, a false-positive diagnosis of cancer can lead to pain and suffering when you endured surgery, radiation therapy, and chemo treatments that you didn’t need.
Losses Affecting Personal Relationships: While it’s true that you suffer tremendously as the victim of medical malpractice, there are implications for your spouse, children, parents, and other loved ones. Loss of consortium is an example. The point of this category of medical malpractice compensation relates to the effects on the family relationships.
Damages for Death from Medical Malpractice: Like other US states, Georgia has a wrongful death statute that applies when someone dies because of a mistake in providing medical care. A surviving spouse, children, and/or other relatives may be able to recover for the value of the life of their deceased loved one. In wrongful death actions, the focus is on the suffering of survivors.
As such, damages in a Georgia wrongful death claim may include those sustained by a spouse and other relatives who were dependent upon the decedent for support. Losses related to companionship, guidance, love, emotional support are usually the focus of a medical malpractice claim for wrongful death.
Discuss Your Legal Options with an Atlanta, GA Medical Malpractice Attorney
This general information should be helpful in describing the range of damages you may be able to recover in a medical malpractice claim, but the details are much more complicated. Fortunately, you can count on our team at the Law Offices of Julie A. Rice to aggressively pursue all available compensation in your case. Please contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation regarding damages and your legal remedies in a Georgia medical malpractice case.