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Types of Damages in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit and Medicare Issues

The whole purpose of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is to claim damages for harm and damages suffered by the victim. However, there are various types of damages, and one should know what could be claimed in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Damages can be broadly classified into two categories, economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are those that affect the finances of the victim and are relatively easier to find out. Economic damages will include:

  • All types of medical costs for treating the injury
  • Therapy and rehabilitation costs
  • Lost earnings from the time the symptoms of injuries caused the victim to skip work, until the date of trial
  • Future lost earnings
  • Funeral costs in case of wrongful death case
  • Loss of a job or business opportunity

In a wrongful death case, the financial or pecuniary loss the family suffers because of the patient's death will also be taken into account, especially when the victim was a sole earning member of the family. If the dead person was not employed at the time of the wrongdoing, the entire pecuniary loss claim may not be entertained.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are typically for pain and suffering endured by medical malpractice victim. These damages are comparatively more difficult to calculate, as there are no hard figures available. Pain and suffering will include present and future pain and suffering depending on the type of injuries suffered by the victim. Future pain and suffering will be the suffering foreseeable in the future, based upon harms and losses the victim has suffered, and his estimated life expectancy.

In wrongful death cases, pain and suffering will be calculated from the time of the wrongdoing until the patient died. This duration can be extremely short or it could span many years.

In wrongful death cases, loss of consortium is another type of non-economic damages. The surviving family members can claim loss of love, sexual relationship, affection, comfort, or companionship, because the person is no longer there. The spouse of the dead person can claim loss of sexual relationship and love of the dead partner. Parents and children of the deceased can claim absence of level of care, nurturing, and love, since the person caring for them has died.

Medicare Issues

Most people above the age of 65 will be Medicare beneficiaries, which plays an important part in medical malpractice cases. When the victim is a beneficiary, the lawyer will have to inform Medicare about the lawsuit that is being filed against the doctor or hospital.

Medicare has a lien on the compensation awarded by the court, and since it is a federal agency, it can go to the lawyer, insurance company, or the client to recoup what is owed to them. The lien is on the improper care that Medicare paid, which the patient received. If Medicare is not notified about the medical malpractice lawsuit, they can recover three times the amount that was owed to them.

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