What is the Average Settlement for Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania?
Settlements for medical malpractice can vary significantly in Pennsylvania. Victims generally have the opportunity to claim greater damages when they go to court instead of settling.
Economic damages should be included in the average medical malpractice settlement in Pennsylvania. The sum of each settlement varies as victims’ damages change with each case. Medical malpractice settlements notably do not include compensation for non-economic damages. If victims accept settlement offers from hospitals, they will not be able to sue for further damages if they realize that their injuries warrant greater compensation in the future. Victims might be able to claim more than the average settlement when they go to court. Doing so could result in compensation for all economic losses, as well as non-economic and punitive damages in Pennsylvania.
To have our Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers evaluate your case for free, call The Reiff Law Firm at now at (215) 709-6940.
What Damages Should Be Included in an Average Medical Malpractice Settlement in Pennsylvania?
People often think that settling a medical malpractice claim with a powerful hospital might be lucrative enough to rationalize not going to trial. But what exactly is included in an average medical malpractice settlement in Pennsylvania, and will it be enough?
It is true that hospitals and their insurance companies typically prefer to settle cases out of court out of concern of bad publicity. They also know that settling quickly generally works in their favor, as they can often offer a small settlement that victims will accept because they need immediate compensation. Fortunately, our Allentown medical malpractice lawyers are capable of assessing settlement offers and identifying insufficient offers so that you do not make a decision that bars you from additional compensation in the future.
Generally, the average settlement in a medical malpractice case covers medical expenses incurred because of an injury and, in the best circumstances, a victim’s lost wages. Anything less than total compensation for all economic losses, including other out-of-pocket expenses such as child care, travel costs, or in-home care for victims, would be considered unacceptable. Because damages from acts of medical malpractice vary dramatically, there is no set average settlement that victims can refer to.
What Damages Are Not Included in an Average Medical Malpractice Settlement in Pennsylvania?
While compensation for some economic losses might sound appealing to victims in Pennsylvania, there are some damages that settlements for medical malpractice do not include.
It is exceedingly rare for a settlement from a hospital to include compensation for non-economic damages. This refers to the pain and suffering a victim has experienced because of the negligence of a doctor, medical professional, or hospital. While hospitals might include some compensation for pain and suffering in a settlement, that generally only happens in instances where a hospital is very concerned about litigation.
Furthermore, punitive damages, which are reserved for cases involving gross negligence, are never available in settlements. Judges and juries can award these damages to victims when cases go to trial in Pennsylvania. If you settle out of court, you will not be eligible to receive punitive damages, even if the cause of your injuries was due to gross negligence on behalf of a doctor or hospital.
What Might Happen if You Accept a Settlement for Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania?
Once you accept a settlement in a medical malpractice claim, the case is over, and you can no longer seek compensatory damages.
Hospitals know that they will not be vulnerable to future litigation when victims accept settlements. This is why hospitals and their attorneys might pressure victims into settling too soon after an incident, as doing so would shut the case down forever. Our attorneys can be your voice and advocate during these settlement negotiations so that you do not feel forced into accepting a settlement that does not properly compensate you for both your economic and non-economic damages in Pennsylvania.
Suppose you are averse to going to court. In that case, it is important that you understand the significance of accepting a settlement, as doing so will prohibit you from seeking additional compensation in the future, even if you require it.
How Can You Get More than the Average Medical Malpractice Settlement in Pennsylvania?
Although settling can seem like the simplest way to approach things, it might leave victims without proper compensation for their damages. To get more than the average settlement for medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, you can go to court.
When victims successfully meet the burden of proof against a negligent hospital or doctor, they can recover compensation for all economic damages related to their injuries. Financial damages are not capped in medical malpractice claims. As long as you can provide proof of your financial losses, you can recover compensation for them in a lawsuit.
Pennsylvania does not impose a limit on recovery of non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims either. This is somewhat unique, as many states do cap damages for pain and suffering. A judge or jury can award a victim non-economic damages of any sum based on a victim’s personal testimony and other evidence that demonstrates the pain and suffering they have gone through as a result of medical malpractice.
Punitive damages are most commonly available in medical malpractice claims. This is often because of the high duty of care doctors and other medical professionals owe to their patients. In Pennsylvania, punitive damages are capped at 200% of compensatory damages, which could be a considerable sum depending on the amount you receive in economic and non-economic damages. All of this may be available to victims when they choose to go to trial over settling a medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania.
Call Our Lawyers About Your Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Claim
Contact The Reiff Law Firm by calling (215) 709-6940, and get a free case assessment from our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers today.