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You are also entitled to noneconomic damages for physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional suffering, physical impairment, inconvenience, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (disruption of your personal relationship with your spouse), etc. There is no definite standard of calculating reasonable compensation for these types of damages other than being just and reasonable in light of the evidence. Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant for reckless or malicious behavior and are only recoverable in rare cases.
In certain instances, damages may be awarded to families of injured claimants for loss of care, companionship, love and affection. Family members can be compensated for the wrongful death of a loved one. These damages may include medical and burial expenses, loss of income that would have supported the family members, emotional suffering, and loss of the pleasures of the family relationship.
Noneconomic damages for wrongful death are limited to $400,000 and punitive damages are limited to $75,000. Liability of governmental entities and their employees is limited to $400,000 per occurrence and they are immune from punitive damages.
Any settlement will be reduced if there appears to be a good chance that the claim will not be successful. If you were partially at fault for the accident, the amount of damages will be reduced by an amount deemed just and equitable. Benefits received from collateral sources may be used to reduce your recoverable economic damages. Other factors that may reduce the damages include past medical history, preexisting injuries, and prior claims history.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified medical malpractice lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local medical malpractice attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.