Types of Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases: What New Jersey Residents Should Know

Think about the last time you visited the doctor’s office.  No matter if it was a routine check-up or an in-depth consultation or procedure, chances are there was an inherent degree of trust and respect that transpired between yourself and the medical professional with whom you met.  When this trust is broken due to medical malpractice on the part of physicians or healthcare systems, the results can be traumatic and damages can last for generations.

Because of the huge amount of faith and trust we instill in our healthcare providers (and not to mention the oftentimes exorbitant cost of care), we expect a certain quality of service from these professionals. When accidents occur in a medical setting and patients turn into victims, most individuals turn to the expertise of a trust local medical malpractice attorney to explore their options.

By working with our legal professionals, medical malpractice victims are able to better understand the legal frameworks at play in their case, as well as discuss and analyze any unique circumstances that may pose challenges as they pursue civil litigation. Once these questions have been answered, many plaintiffs feel prepared to go to trial to recover compensation for damages.

Throughout this process, it is important for plaintiffs to understand just what types of damages may be rewarded. While frequent communication and consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is always the preferred course of action, there are some general points of knowledge regarding the different types of damages in medical malpractice cases to which all New Jersey residents should be made aware.

Compensatory Damages

Also known as “actual damages,” compensatory damages are what most people likely have in mind when they think about recovering compensation in medical malpractice cases. Compensatory damages can be used to pay for a victim’s medical bills, therapy, and any other expenses that arose due to the medical provider’s negligence. There is no cap on how much can be awarded in compensatory damages in New Jersey.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are imposed by the courts as a punishment to the defendant in medical malpractice cases. Also known as “exemplary damages,” these are often imposed in order to make an example of the defendant (physician or healthcare provider in this case) who was deemed negligent by the court. The main idea behind punitive damages is that they serve to punish the entity responsible for causing the personal injury, and the amount imposed is received by the plaintiff. In New Jersey, the limit on punitive damages is set to either $350,000 or five times what is awarded in compensatory damages, whichever is greater.

When to Contact an Attorney

When victims are injured and a medical provider or healthcare system is suspected to be at fault, it can be extremely intimidating to envision a path towards recovering compensation. Thankfully, legal professionals such as the attorneys at Ferrara & Gable have been helping medical malpractice victims throughout New Jersey for years. Contact Ferrara & Gable today to discuss your case and determine the next steps today.