What Is My Malpractice Case Worth?
It Depends Upon The Damages
In order to value a malpractice case in Pennsylvania, you must understand the concepts of economic damages and non-economic damages.
Plaintiffs claims for damages may include compensatory damages for all of the harm suffered. This will include damages for economic and non-economic claims. The economic claims include:
- past medical bills,
- future medical bills,
- lost wages,
- lost earning capacity, and/or
- other out-of-pocket expenses.
The economic damages are typically presented to a jury as an exact number. These damages may include estimates of future economic harm, based upon past experiences. For example, an economist may project future wage loss using past tax returns as a basis.
Most of the economic damages are easy to identify and often stipulated to at a trial. The greater dispute at most trials is the non-economic damages for pain and suffering.
Pennsylvania also allows for the recovery of pain and suffering, which may include:
- physical pain,
- emotional pain,
- mental anguish,
- humility, and/or
- reduction in the likelihood of marriage.
These are all itemized recoverable damages in Pennsylvania. Meaning jurors can award a separate sum for all physical and emotional pain.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to value. The reality is people value injuries differently. Lawyers can make educated guesses to value pain and suffering based upon similar settlements and verdicts, however, each case is unique.
When valuing non-economic damages, most jurors consider the severity of the defendant’s actions and how sympathetic the plaintiff is. The more egregious the conduct, typically the higher awarded for pain and suffering. Likewise, sympathetic plaintiffs are usually awarded larger settlements and verdicts.
In order to value a malpractice case in Pennsylvania, it requires calculating the economic damages and then fully analyzing the plaintiff, the defendant, the liability and the overall circumstances of each case.