Medical Malpractice: Economic and Non-economic Damages

When a patient is injured by a healthcare professional and a legitimate medical malpractice lawsuit is pursued, the resolution sought will be a dollar amount. This sum of money, called damages, can be viewed as economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are the ones more easily measured and listed in a medical malpractice case. These are the most verifiable and simplest amounts to recover with the proper documentation. Included in this category are past and future medical bills arising from the malpractice; the amount needed for rehabilitation; any income that was missed due to the injury; and, wages that will not be earned in the future due to loss of capacity.

Other examples of economic damages that may be sought in a medical malpractice claim are called "replacement services." These might include the need for child care or homecare services if the patient was able to perform these prior to the malpractice but can no longer do these activities. Also, if the patient now needs his or her living space modified with a wheelchair ramp, bathroom adjustments or other changes, these fall under economic damages.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, can be difficult to measure. Your pain and suffering, for example, are very real - you should receive compensation. But these issues can be quite challenging to calculate and prove. There are many factors (including "damage caps" in Tennessee state law) that can positively and negatively influence the amount of money received for non-economic damages.

Considering all these complexities, the advice of an attorney is always recommended for medical malpractice situations. Contact us today.

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