If you are the victim of medical malpractice, you know all too well how the physical losses you have suffered can also affect your emotional and mental well being. You may be entitled to damages to compensate you for your losses. Although rare, you may also be able to recover punitive damages for the willful or malicious conduct of a healthcare provider.
Compensatory Damages for Economic Losses. Medical malpractice victims can seek compensatory damages to cover their economic, or financial, losses. Economic losses, also known as “actual” losses, include medical expenses and loss of income. Compensatory damages are intended to make a victim of medical malpractice “whole,” even though the victim’s life may be unalterably changed. Even where an individual cannot establish actual damages, a small sum called “nominal” damages may be awarded to acknowledge a legal injury.
Compensatory Damages for Non-Economic Losses. Victims of medical malpractice may also be eligible to receive compensation for non-economic losses. Non-economic losses are often difficult to quantify and include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and continued physical impairment or disability. Compensatory damages for non-economic losses are no longer capped in Missouri. The state statute that previously capped these damages was found unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court. The Missouri legislature is currently working on legislation that could cap non-economic damages in the future, but debate over this subject continues.
Punitive Damages. Punitive damages are damages intended to punish a wrongdoer. Punitive damages are not often awarded in medical malpractice cases. Missouri Revised Statute § 538.210 places a heavy burden of proof on a plaintiff seeking punitive damages in a medical malpractice suit. The plaintiff must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the healthcare provider acted willfully, wantonly or maliciously in causing the injuries.
Make sure that your right to recover under a medical malpractice action is protected by contacting an experienced Missouri personal injury attorney at The Quitmeier Law Firm.