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Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
When you go to the doctor’s office or the emergency room, you trust that you will receive the care necessary to treat your injury or illness. In short, you trust your doctor to make you better when you have a health problem. Still, sometimes doctors and other medical professionals betray that trust and may actually make your condition worse through negligence. A medical error during diagnosis, prescription and/or treatment can cause physical injuries or allow an illness or condition to progress. Serious mistakes can cause permanent disability and even wrongful death. If you sought treatment from a doctor but suffered negative results due to medical negligence, then you may be able to file a legal claim to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. However, these cases are notoriously complex, as not every doctor’s error may satisfy the requirements for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Below, our New Hampshire injury attorneys explain what acts may constitute medical malpractice and describe the elements of a lawsuit. Additionally, we also discuss the damage caps that apply to medical malpractice claims in New Hampshire. These laws limit the amount of compensation that medical injury victims and/or their families may recover. However, every case is different, so if you have a specific question about medical negligence, do not hesitate to ask the lawyers. Otherwise, consult our local listings to find an attorney near you.
Although doctors usually have a detailed and impressive understanding of how to heal the body, they are still human; they can still make mistakes. Therefore, the law does not hold doctors to a standard of perfection, which means that not all medical errors may be grounds for a lawsuit. To be able to file a medical malpractice claim, you and your lawyer generally must be able to demonstrate that your case meets these four requirements:
The treatment you receive depends on the specific injury, illness or other medical condition you are experiencing. Therefore, the types of medical negligence which can cause injuries or damage to your health can vary widely. However, some of the most common examples of medical malpractice include:
Any healthcare professional may commit medical malpractice, including doctors, specialists, nurses and pharmacists.
Many states, including New Hampshire, limit the amount of compensation you can recover from a medical malpractice lawsuit. In most cases, damage caps apply only to certain types of damages. Economic damages include all compensation you receive for measurable expenses. This may be medical bills for past and future treatment, and lost wages. Usually, economic damages are not capped.
The New Hampshire medical malpractice damage cap applies only to non-economic damages. These are losses which are not easily quantifiable, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and emotional trauma. However, this category also includes compensation for permanent disability, disfigurement, paralysis, loss of limb, blindness and wrongful death. New Hampshire capes non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases at $250,000. This means that you can only recover a maximum of $250,000, plus your economic damages, even if a doctor’s mistake has changed your life forever.
However, this limit is not always absolute. In cases involving permanent, catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, the damage cap may be raised to an additional $50,000. Injuries that qualify as catastrophic are generally those that cause severe, irreversible disability. For example, a spinal cord injury that causes permanent paralysis is typically categorized as catastrophic. However, you should always consult a medical malpractice attorney for information about how these laws apply to your specific situation.
Medical malpractice claims are usually complex, since they usually require the input of at least one expert witness and an understanding of the medicine involved. Therefore, if you have a question concerning medical malpractice, then you should ask a lawyer. Or, if you need to find a qualified medical malpractice lawyer in your area, consult our local listings.
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