How to sue a doctor for pain and suffering due to their negligence: A complete guide with FAQs!

Medications, surgeries, and physical therapies are some of the bodily conditions that result in pain and suffering. If you are suffering from one of those, you should consider them seriously as pain and suffering often are connected with medical malpractice. Here’s how to sue a doctor for pain and suffering?

What defines Pain and Suffering?

When a victim incurs injuries as a result of a doctor’s negligent acts, it is called pain and suffering in the legal terminology. When this pain and suffering is directly related to medical malpractice, they would be further called injury or injuries. Here doctors or other parties are often involved.

It is crucial to know that a victim suffering from pain or injuries cannot sue a doctor for his sufferings alone. To prove that there was medical malpractice involved, they need to file a lawsuit.

For this, the following are some examples that fall eligible for a medical malpractice lawsuit;

  • Decreases movement
  • Physical pain
  • Loss functions of different organs of the body
  • Physical pain
  • Permanent injury causes disability
  • Anguish
  • Trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional or Mental Stress
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Decreased quality of Life

How to calculate compensation for pain and suffering?

It is quite a tough task to calculate the monetary compensation on abstract concepts. For many victims suffering from injuries and illness because of medical malpractice, the mental trauma, physical pain, and emotional pain are much greater than the economic fallout for treatment and medical bills.

Different jurisdictions apply different methods to calculate pain and suffering compensation for the victim. A standard method for calculating financial relief includes the multiplication of claimed medical bills and expenses from the victim by a number that somewhere reflects the severity of the sufferings. 

For instance, a jury may conclude a medical malpractice case with the verdict for a man who incurred the medical bills of $6000 for the negligent treatment of his hernia deserves five times the amount he spent on his medical bills that would be $18,000 for his compensation.

However, a plaintiff with a wrongful amputation will eventually have much greater medical expenses to incur. Plus, he will have long-term side effects as a result of medical malpractice. Therefore, supposedly if the jury finds out that the man incurred the expense of $25,000 in his medical expenses, then the severity of the emotional distress and trauma would grant the plaintiff a compensation of around $150,000 or more.

Another common way that juries follow is ‘Per Diem’. Through this, the judge decides the per-day dollar value for the victim to recover from injuries. The core purpose of this method is to provide the current and future wages to the victim. The amount in dollars per day will be multiplied by the days a victim will take to completely heal from the injuries.

Pain and Suffering in the Medical Malpractice lawsuit

A myriad of factors is involved in the amount of pain and suffering claims you file in a lawsuit. This includes the credibility, reliability, demeanor, and overall amiability of a victim that can sway the jury’s verdict in a flash of a second.

Additionally, the nature of the plaintiff’s injuries plays an important part in determining the financial liability of the defendant. Disfiguring injuries, severe injuries, injuries causing permanent disabilities, and catastrophic injuries end up in lasting injuries and take time to recover.

It is also important to bring into account that many states limit the compensation amount that a plaintiff may receive for a malpractice claim. No matter how long the plaintiff’s injury would last, states may or may not limit the compensation amount between $250,000 and $50,000.

One of the best ways to claim the compensation amount is to act immediately once you recover or become eligible to claim compensation and secure legal representation.

Requirements to claim a medical malpractice lawsuit

To sue a doctor for pain and suffering through a lawsuit, you would need to provide relevant evidence. This evidence can be doctor’s notes, prescriptions, medical records, medical examinations, test results, and other documents from therapists and psychologists. Stating that you are suffering from medical malpractice would not be enough.

You also have to prove:

You were being treated under the defendant’s care

Defendant failed to provide the proper care to the plaintiff

Defendant’s negligence caused harm/injury/or damage to the plaintiff.

To pursue a successful lawsuit:

Remember that it is your right to ask for compensation for the injuries you incurred due to someone else’s negligence. There can be several reasons that resulted in your pain and suffering. Team up with a medical malpractice attorney and find out your potential eligibility to hold someone liable.

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According to the Civil Code 3333.2 CA, a cap is placed on the non-economic damage recoveries of $250,000 in medical malpractice lawsuits.

States have put different limits on the time period for which you can file a malpractice lawsuit. For adults, it is for three years from the date of injury and one year after when a three-year period has passed but the plaintiff discovered the injury later.

For minors, statutes of limitations are a bit similar. A three-year period from the alleged date of the wrongful act was performed. Plus, when the malpractice was done, and the minor was not more than 6 years of age, then the claims can be made until the minor reaches its 8th birthday.

A plaintiff can also add punitive claims in its malpractice lawsuit if he is able to prove that the defendant had committed oppression, malice, or fraud.