Washington, DC Medical Malpractice Damages: Explained
We turn to the professional advice and treatment of physicians because we trust that with their medical training and experience, they will know how to best help us with medical problems. Most of the time, good physicians apply their knowledge—as well as that of their peers—to give us the safest, most effective treatment possible. Unfortunately, some physicians are simply negligent, and can harm a patient in a variety of ways—from poorly executed procedures to something as simple as unwashed hands or instruments.
When someone you love suffers injury, illness, or death from medical malpractice in Maryland, Washington, DC, or Virginia, it can be an incredibly overwhelming experience. When a trusted professional like a doctor betrays your trust, it can be hard to know where to turn.Washington, DC-Area Medical Malpractice Cases: Protecting Your Rights as a Patient
If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent medical professional, the ability to file a medical malpractice suit is one of your rights as a patient. These cases typically serve two purposes: to recover your own damages and occasionally even impose punitive damages on the offending medical professional or facility in order to discourage further negligence.
In this type of case, the plaintiff (you, as the victim) can generally seek three kinds of damages:
- Special Damages: Quantifiable damages for tangible expenses, such as medical bills, loss of current and potential earnings, etc.
- General Damages: Damages that cannot be assigned a specific monetary value automatically, such as pain and suffering.
- Punitive Damages: Damages awarded to the victim to specifically punish the offending physician—generally, these are only awarded if the doctor in question knowingly acted in an irresponsible and negligent manner.
Many states have begun imposing limits on the damages that a victim of medical malpractice can recover. Some states have capped all damages, and others focus simply on the non-economic, or general, damages. Here is how the states in our area handle damage caps:
- Virginia: Virginia has enacted a cap on all damages, which is currently $2 million. Virginia also limits punitive damages to $350,000.
- Maryland: Maryland has a cap on non-economic damages only.
- Washington, DC: The District of Columbia has no limit on recoverable damages.
If you have been hurt by a doctor acting negligently, you deserve compensation for your damages, both economic and non-economic. The Bethesda medical malpractice attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins are here to help you get your life back—call today at 202.296.0666 for a free consultation with one of our experienced medical malpractice lawyers.