When suing a hospital or a doctor, you usually seek to recover past and future medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses. But you can also seek compensation for pain and suffering. Generally, a person can pursue a claim for pain and suffering when they are injured due to negligence and experience either pain or suffering, individually or combined.
It is also important for doctors and nurses to communicate with patients and gather pertinent information about their health history and that of their immediate family members. Information on preexisting medical conditions and family history of inherited disorders such as heart disease and diabetes are crucial to properly diagnosing a patient’s symptoms. A patient with flu-like symptoms, severe stomach pain, and dehydration that has a family history of diabetes could be quickly tested for high glucose levels and treated immediately before they suffered organ damage or coma.
For minor to moderate injuries, you’ll place a multiple of 1 – 5x on the total of your special damages. The number depends on the seriousness of your injuries, and whether they were soft tissue or hard injuries. The more serious the injuries, the higher the multiple. For very serious injuries, you’ll need an attorney to calculate the proper demand.
Damages in a personal injury case, whether they be economic or non-economic, are generally limited to the coverage limits of the insurance policy. Often, this means that a person cannot sue an insurance company for a million dollars if the insurance coverage the defendant held only had a limit of $50,000. The most concrete way to think about this example is in the automobile insurance industry.
A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis itself is not evidence of negligence. Skillful doctors can and do make diagnostic errors even when using reasonable care. The key is determining whether the doctor acted competently, which involves an evaluation of what the doctor did and did not do in arriving at a diagnosis. This means looking at the "differential diagnosis" method the doctor used in making treatment determinations.
While some medical errors are unavoidable, and things go wrong even when the utmost skill and care is used, doctors and other health care providers can be held legally responsible for any injuries that result from the provision of negligent or sub-standard care to patients. If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against a doctor, it will most likely be under a legal theory known as medical malpractice.