Can You Sue a Doctor for Pain and Suffering?
Medical mistakes can have devastating consequences. Not only can they be incredibly expensive, but they can also cause pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. While there is nothing that can truly erase these consequences, victims of medical malpractice can sue their doctors to recover financial compensation for pain and suffering under Florida law.
Medical malpractice cases are incredibly complex and require the unique knowledge, skill, and resources of a lawyer with experience in these difficult claims. The Orlando medical malpractice attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright are proud of our record of success in a range med mal cases. We have built a reputation for excellence in helping wrongfully-injured patients obtain the maximum compensation they deserve.
When Can You Sue Your Doctor for Pain and Suffering?
Suing a doctor for pain and suffering requires evidence of medical malpractice. While medical malpractice can take a variety of different forms, not all medical mistakes will justify a lawsuit. To constitute malpractice, a mistake must result from a failure to meet the requisite “standard of care.”
This standard of care can be different in different scenarios. For example, an emergency room doctor may have a larger margin for error than an oncologist who sees patients in an office setting. With that said, all types of doctors commit malpractice, and all types of medical mistakes can potentially support claims for just compensation. This includes common mistakes such as:
- Anesthesia and surgery errors
- Diagnostic errors (including misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose)
- Failure to triage
- Failure to monitor
- Medication errors
- Misreading scans and test results
- Overlooking allergies or other contraindications
- Rushing patient visits and failing to read patients’ charts
- Treatment errors
How Do You Sue Your Doctor for Pain and Suffering?
Let’s assume your doctor committed medical malpractice. How do you sue for pain and suffering?
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is a complex and time-intensive process. Your lawyer will need to thoroughly examine the facts of your case, and he or she may need to meet with medical experts and discuss whether your doctor failed to meet the requisite standard of care.
Your lawyer will also need to calculate the compensation you are entitled to recover—and this includes placing a dollar value on your pain and suffering.
Practically speaking, before suing your doctor for pain and suffering, your lawyer will most likely initiate a claim with your doctor’s insurance company. Most successful medical malpractice claims are resolved through this process. Your lawyer will deal with the insurance company directly, keeping you up-to-date in the background, and your lawyer will work to negotiate a settlement that fairly compensates you for your pain, suffering, and other losses.
Of course, there is no guarantee that your doctor’s medical malpractice insurance company will settle. If it won’t, then it may be necessary to go to court. Your lawyer will need to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, and your lawyer will need to rely on his or her litigation experience to fight for the compensation you deserve.
How Much Can You Recover for Pain and Suffering in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Speaking of the compensation you deserve, how much do you deserve? The answer to this question depends entirely on your unique personal circumstances.
Unlike medical bills and lost wages, your attorney cannot simply “add up” the costs of your pain and suffering. Instead, your attorney must work to determine an appropriate dollar value based on the non-financial impacts of your doctor’s malpractice. In determining how much compensation to seek on your behalf, your attorney will consider factors such as:
- The timing of your doctor’s malpractice in relation to the severity of your condition (i.e. whether treatment is no longer possible due to a delayed diagnosis)
- The extent of your ongoing treatment needs
- Whether your doctor’s malpractice will have any chronic or permanent effects
- Your current prognosis as a result of your doctor’s malpractice
- The severity of your pain on a day-to-day basis
- The psychological impacts of coping with your doctor’s malpractice and your current condition
- How your doctor’s malpractice has impacted your relationships with friends and family members
- How your doctor’s negligence has impacted your day-to-day activities and your ability to enjoy life
In many cases, the compensation patients are entitled to receive for their pain and suffering will far exceed their financial losses. The key to maximizing your financial recovery is to build as compelling a case as possible, and this involves working closely with your attorney to fully document the effects of your doctor’s mistake.
At Colling Gilbert Wright, we have decades of experience helping victims of medical malpractice recover just compensation for their pain and suffering.
If you would like to know more about filing a claim, please call (800) 766-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our Florida medical malpractice attorneys. We serve clients in Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and other Florida areas.