What Damages Are Available in Hospital Medical Malpractice Cases?

by | Mar 21, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a very real concern for patients in Louisiana hospitals. Patients can (and do) suffer harm due to all forms of malpractice, from triage and diagnostic errors to surgical mistakes and inadequate patient monitoring.

Regardless of the specific issue involved, if you are a victim of hospital medical malpractice, you are entitled to financial compensation. The losses you can recover are referred to as your “damages.” In this article, Alexandria hospital negligence lawyer Chris J. Roy explains the damages that are available to medical malpractice victims under Louisiana law.

Economic Damages in Louisiana Hospital Medical Malpractice Cases

Broadly speaking, the damages that are available in hospital medical malpractice cases fall into two categories: (i) economic, and (ii) non-economic. Economic damages are those that are monetary in nature, while non-economic damages impact patients’ and families’ lives in other ways.

The following types of economic damages are available in hospital medical malpractice cases filed under Louisiana law:

Medical Bills

As a victim of medical malpractice in Louisiana, you are entitled to financial compensation for the cost of all medical care necessitated by the hospital’s mistake. This includes the cost of diagnosing your condition as well as all necessary medical treatment and therapy.

This is true whether the hospital’s malpractice exacerbated your existing condition or you suffered an injury while undergoing treatment. For example, if the hospital failed to timely diagnose your condition and you got worse as a result, you are entitled to compensation for the cost of treating your condition at its current stage. Likewise, if you underwent surgery at a hospital and your surgeon made a mistake that resulted in an internal injury, you are entitled to compensation for the cost of all treatment needed to remedy your surgeon’s mistake.

Prescriptions, Medical Supplies, and Medical Devices

In addition to your medical bills, you are also entitled to compensation for all other necessary medical expenses. This includes the cost of prescription medications, medical supplies (i.e., gauze and bandages), and medical devices (i.e., a surgical implant, brace, crutches, or wheelchair).

Other Out-of-Pocket Costs

In many cases, patients who fall victim to hospital medical malpractice will be entitled to recover other out-of-pocket costs as well. For example, injured and sick patients will frequently be entitled to damages for:

  • Transportation expenses
  • Vehicle and home modifications
  • In-home care services
  • Childcare and nanny services
  • Cleaning, landscaping, and other home services

Loss of Income

The fourth major category of economic damages in Louisiana hospital medical malpractice cases is loss of income. This includes both loss of income to date and loss of future earning capacity.

If you are a victim of medical malpractice in Louisiana, you are entitled to recover damages for your loss of income in all forms. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Wages or salary
  • Benefits
  • Commissions
  • Tips
  • Bonuses

Regarding loss of future earning capacity, you can seek compensation for your full loss of income if you are unable to work, or you can seek compensation for the reduction in your income if you need to work fewer hours or in a lower-paying position. As with all of your damages, the key is to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the full amount you are entitled to recover before you start thinking about resolving your claim.

Non-Economic Damages in Louisiana Hospital Medical Malpractice Cases

As mentioned above, non-economic damages are those that impact your life in ways other than negatively affecting your finances. Examples of non-economic damages that can be recovered in hospital medical malpractice cases in Louisiana include:

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages provide financial compensation for the physical and psychological effects of living with the hospital’s mistake on a daily basis. These damages do not cover the cost of treatment (this cost is covered as part of your economic damages). Instead, they provide compensation for the stress, discomfort, and struggles you endure as a result of being the victim of medical malpractice.

Scarring and Disfigurement

If the hospital’s mistake left you permanently scarred or disfigured, you are entitled to financial compensation for this as well. This could be the case, for example, if your doctor made a surgical error or if an improper delay in treatment resulted in the need for amputation.

Loss of Companionship and Consortium

Loss of companionship and consortium damages provide financial compensation for the impacts of the hospital’s medical malpractice on your personal relationships. If your physical limitations, pain, depression, or any other effects of the hospital’s mistake have left you unable to enjoy meaningful time with your children or spouse, this is a type of “compensable loss” under Louisiana law. 

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Louisiana law also entitles victims of hospital medical malpractice to damages for their loss of enjoyment of life. If you are unable to work in a fulfilling career, partake in your hobbies, or participate in activities with your family and friends, you are entitled to financial compensation for these losses in addition to all of the other losses discussed above.  

Louisiana’s Damages Cap for Medical Malpractice Claims

All of this is subject to a very important caveat: In Louisiana, medical malpractice damages are capped at $500,000. with the sole exception of ongoing medical expenses. As a result, even if your economic and non-economic losses are in the millions of dollars (which isn’t unusual in medical malpractice cases), you most likely won’t be able to recover more than $500,000 plus the cost of your ongoing care.

Of course, this is still a lot of money, and it is still well worth hiring a lawyer to help you assert your legal rights. If you think you may have a claim for hospital medical malpractice, we encourage you to contact us for more information.

Request a Free Consultation with Alexandria Hospital Negligence Lawyer Chris J. Roy

To learn more about filing a claim for hospital medical malpractice in Louisiana, please contact us to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with Alexandria hospital negligence lawyer Chris J. Roy. Call 318-413-6191 or get in touch online to schedule an appointment today.

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