It is not easy to get a full picture of the increase in medical malpractice cases in South Africa, as there is no central register. Cases can be settled in court, out of court or via mediation. If matters are settled out of court or via mediation, there is no public record of compensation. However, if all sources of information are collated, it would certainly appear that both the number and levels of claims are increasing, and this is affecting the overall cost of health care in the country, including what you pay for medical scheme cover.
Malpractice lawyers decline cases because potential compensation doesn’t justify legal costs, Knutsen says. It only makes sense to accept “high-value cases,” meaning those with potentially big claims. The decision rests on the “entirely distasteful” exercise of calculating the value of a life. “It’s cheaper to kill someone than to maim them. In our legal system, as long as you are alive, you have a claim for income loss and pain and suffering. If you’re dead, those claims expire,” Knutsen says.
Special damages are damages that one can easily place a monetary value on, like medical expenses or lost wages.These are the injured’s out of pocket expenses. Since these types of economic damages can be easily calculated (i.e exact amount of medical bills or exactly how much time missed from work multiplied by wage), they are often the more easy to obtain damages.

Special damages are damages that one can easily place a monetary value on, like medical expenses or lost wages.These are the injured’s out of pocket expenses. Since these types of economic damages can be easily calculated (i.e exact amount of medical bills or exactly how much time missed from work multiplied by wage), they are often the more easy to obtain damages.


Intensity. The more intense the mental anguish, the better chance you have of proving that your emotional distress was severe enough to deserve compensation. In some cases, however -- particularly, cases alleging negligent (rather than intentional) infliction of emotional distress, courts will typically require some sort of physical injury as well.
The settlement a person receives for their pain and suffering depends on many factors. This includes the severity of the injury, type of medical treatment received, the length of recovery time, and potential long term consequences of the personal injuries. In addition to physical pain, claimants can also cite emotional and psychological trauma in their pain and suffering claims. For example, a visible scar on the face can lead to painful feelings of constant embarrassment and insecurity.
General damages refer to damages that are not specifically monetary, for example, damages for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional trauma. There is no tangible bills or receipts that state a specific dollar amount for pain and suffering or emotional damage, but they are still losses for which an injured person deserves compensation nonetheless.
If the doctor's mistake was one that a reasonable doctor would make, he has not acted negligently and has not committed medical malpractice. Often when a doctor fails to diagnose a medical problem, he may mistake the problem for something else and attempt to treat that. Likewise, if the medical problem is extremely rare, unknown, or difficult to identify, than a proper diagnose may not be possible.

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.
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