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Do Georgia Courts Award Punitive Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases?

What happens if a doctor harms you or a loved one in the process of medical care? While accidents can and do happen, some laws enable victims to file medical malpractice cases when a preventable accident happens. Not every case will meet the grounds for opening a suit and fighting for damages, but those who can file could be entitled to a range of damages to compensate them for this incident.

Medical malpractice cases aim to provide support for those victims of medical malpractice incidents that leave the victim with devastating injuries and expenses associated with these accidents. Any victim of such an incident needs to understand their rights as well as their responsibilities.

Damages could be available to a victim or a victim’s surviving family members when they show that a doctor or other medical professional deviated away from a standard of care that left the victim suffering the consequences. All states treat the awarding of damages differently. Therefore, a victim in Georgia needs to understand what types of damages they could be entitled to after suffering in a serious accident.

Three Types of Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases in Georgia

In general, each medical malpractice case opens the door for three possible damage compensation types:

  • Economic damages, such as direct payments for medical care required by the incident
  • Non-economic damages, such as those that account for the victim’s pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages, which aim to hold the negligent party accountable for especially egregious actions

In some severe cases of malpractice, a victim might be entitled to all three. In your initial consultation with a GA medical malpractice lawyer, discuss the facts of the case and be prepared to share things like documents or medical records to support your claim.

The process of recovery, both in terms of your health and finances, can be a very long path. Leveraging support from outside people, such as a GA medical malpractice attorney, is one way to make this long road easier to travel.

Defining Egregious Actions in Medical Malpractice Punitive Damages

Georgia courts have the discretion to award punitive damages in medical malpractice cases in which the care provided was so outrageous or egregious that the defendant deserves punishment.

Punitive damages are only allowable in Georgia medical malpractice cases when clear and convincing evidence has illustrated that the defendant’s action showed fraud, malice, willful misconduct, conscious indifference to consequences, or oppression.

No caps exist on compensatory damages for financial losses following an accident or non-economic damages for pain and suffering in a Georgia medical malpractice case. However, there is a punitive damage cap, meaning that the maximum a victim can receive for punitive damages in a medical malpractice case is $250,000.

Kinds of Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases can happen due to a variety of different circumstances. In all of these cases, a victim must understand whether or not their case meets the necessary grounds for medical malpractice. Malpractice calls into question the medical professional’s actions and whether another medical professional would have reacted in the same way.

In some cases, these malpractice issues are much more clear-cut, such as a physician under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of providing care. In other cases, it falls to the victim and an experienced medical malpractice attorney to create a compelling case illustrating why the victim suffered damages.

What Kinds of Compensation Are Available Outside of Punitive Damages?

As mentioned above, there are no caps on the damages you can receive for things like scarring, anxiety, loss of companionship, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and other emotional losses tied to an accident. Compensation is also available in the form of economic damages for lost wages, lost earning capacity, health care costs, ongoing medical care, and rehabilitation.

Retaining an Attorney

One of the best things that you can do for your case is to retain the services of an experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after an incident has occurred.

The support of an attorney can help you determine your rights and the responsibilities you need to be aware of when opening a case. Bear in mind that many hospitals and attorneys for these medical malpractice claims will fight back aggressively. You need to have an attorney in your corner representing your best interests.

When your lawsuit lists a desire for punitive damages, you can expect the other side to be well-organized in their response. Your lawyer should be thoroughly prepared to show how this incident went above and beyond through the medical professional’s actions because your future is on the line. Our skilled team of attorneys at Greathouse Trial Law understands Georgia medical malpractice law and will fight for you in court if necessary. Give us a call today at (678) 310-2827 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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Greathouse Trial Law
260 Peachtree Street NW
Suite 803
Atlanta, GA 30303
(678) 310-2827

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Riah Greathouse

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