Damages In Fairfax Medical Malpractice Cases

If you have been the victim of a medical error and are interested in filing an injury claim, the following is what you should know regarding what damages you can recover and how damages in Virginia are calculated. For more information, call and schedule a consultation with a Fairfax medical malpractice lawyer today.

What Damages Can Be Recovered From a Fairfax Medical Malpractice Accident?

The damages you can get include economic damages, such as your medical bills, lost wages, any loss of future earnings or earning capacity. Additionally, economic damages can include any potential future medical care you need and compensation for loss of earnings and loss of future earnings.

Non-Economic Damages

You’ll also be able to recover non-economic damages, which people commonly call pain and suffering, but that can be compensation for not just the pain you’ve gone through, but the impact that your injuries have on your daily life. Whether you are an avid golfer and now you’re unable to play golf because you had to have fingers or an arm partially amputated or maybe you’ve lost some function because of a stroke and are no longer able to play golf, that is compensable. Those things, your hobbies and recreational activities, are things that can be compensable, but also things like yard work, household chores, and hobbies are important too.

For example, if you used to enjoy gardening and you’re no longer able to do so because you had to have a multi-level fusion surgery in your back and you can’t bend over anymore, that’s compensable. It’s not limited to just the things that most people think of when they hear medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Most, if not all, of your non- economic losses can also be compensable, and if you used to do things around the house and after your injury you have to hire someone else to help with those duties, that are something that is compensable also. If you are no longer able to drive or you’re no longer able to pick up your grandchildren or to walk the dog, those are all things that you can be compensable.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages, but those cases are exceedingly rare in Virginia. If someone’s conduct is so egregious that it shows wanton and willful disregard for the well being of others, or it is so appalling that it shocks the mind of the average person, there may be an avenue toward punitive damages also.

How Are Damages Typically Calculated in Fairfax Medical Malpractice Cases?

There are a variety of factors that go into the calculation of damages. Some factors include:

  • Permanency of Injury
  • Work History
  • Medical History
  • Jobs Available

All of which can typically be established through the use of an expert witness.

Then, you’ll also need usually an economist or a life care planner or a vocational rehabilitation expert or some combination of those three. For instance, if you have a permanent loss of your earning capacity, but you’re still able to make some money, an economist and a vocational rehabilitation specialist can work together to project your future lost earnings over the course of your work life expectancy. They will look at what sort of jobs you are able to do now with your limited work capacity as opposed to what you would have been able to do prior to your injuries, and then an economist can project out over the course of your work life expectancy the value of wages you would have lost because of your decreased earning capacity.

Another way to calculate damages for things that are within the normal knowledge of the average person is that the judge or jury can assign a value to your damages. Non-economic damages are hard to quantify, but in the same sense, most people can imagine what it would be like to go through what an injured plaintiff experiences.  A judge or a jury can assess a value to what it means to someone to not be able to do something that is important to them, and really that’s going to depend on the individual and how important it is the activity they’re no longer able to do or the pain they experienced on a daily basis. A judge or a jury is going to be in a position to weigh that and to come up with a monetary value.