In previous articles, we have discussed the General Overview of a Georgia Medical Malpractice Case and the first three elements of this type of case i.e, duty, breach and causation. If a doctor treats a patient, a doctor- patient relationship exists. Once the relationship exists, the doctor has the duty to treat and care for the patient in a manner that a reasonably prudent doctor under similar circumstance would. A doctor, nurse or other medical care provider has a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care and skill when providing medical care. By falling below this minimum level of care, a doctor, nurse or other medical care provider breaches the duty owed to the patient.n order for a person to prevail in a medical malpractice lawsuit, they must prove that the malpractice caused the injuries that they are complaining of in the lawsuit. Many times, it is necessary for the plaintiff to hire a medical expert to opine on causation and this issue is often hotly contested.
Today we will discuss the fourth element of a Georgia Medical Malpractice Case, i.e., damages. Once the other elements are proved, the measure of damages includes not only compensation for actual bodily injuries, but also damages for pain and suffering. The amount of the damages awarded is determined by the general principles which govern other actions for personal injury in Georgia. Common damages that a medical malpractice victim can recover in a lawsuit are past and future medical bills incurred due to the injuries caused by the medical malpractice, past and future lost wages, compensation for the bodily injuries sustained, and compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the medical malpractice. The standard for the award of these damages is “the enlightened conscience of the jury.” In other words, it is up to the jury to decide what the dollar value of the damages are and how much money to award to the medical malpractice victim. This is the law and Georgia, with one important exception.
In medical malpractice lawsuits, individual health care workers can be held liable for no more than $350,000 in non-economic damages (mostly pain and suffering). Even though this is true, many times damages in medical malpractice cases are recoverable well past this amount, since the other types of damages are not capped. These would include past and future medical bills, past and future costs for medical care, past and future lost wages, and other types of damages that are measured in “hard dollars” vs. pain and suffering. Many times, an economist and/or a life care planner are helpful in formulating these damages for a plaintiff.
If you are considering pursuing a medical malpractice claim in Georgia, you should consult with counsel who understands the nuances of Georgia Medical Malpractice law. Robert J. Fleming has successfully handled many medical malpractice cases and has recovered millions of dollars for our clients. Please contact us today so that we can help evaluate your case. You may also contact Mr. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 for a free and completely confidential case evaluation.