Fighting Your Case: The Language of Medical Malpractice
Medical expenses can come out of nowhere and wreak havoc on a family’s finances. In fact, in a recent Harvard study, it was shown that medical expenses accounted for almost 62% of personal bankruptcies in the United States. That might seem too high, but it’s hardly surprising when you consider that less than one in every four Americans has enough savings to cover six months of expenses in the event of an emergency, medical or otherwise.
And yet a disturbingly high number of medical cases, which hold so many precarious family bank accounts in the balance, are mishandled each year. These medical malpractice cases result in further illness or injury, and sometimes even death. In these cases, it is within the patient’s family’s right to press charges or consult a medical malpractice lawyer. In 2013 alone, medical malpractice lawsuits paid out $3.6 billion, which is meager compensation for someone’s ability to live their life.
As with any legal situation, it is sometimes hard to keep up with one’s own case through the thick shroud of jargon and legalese. If you thought medical terminology was difficult to understand, then just wait. There’s a reason lawyers have sometimes been forced to speak in plain English. So to make it easier for you to keep up with your medical malpractice lawyer, check out this list of essential terms for a medical malpractice case:
Proximate Causation: This refers to the relationship between the harm to a person’s health and a health care provider’s negligence, which contributed in a significant way to the causation of that harm.
Loss of Consortium: In short, this means someone has lost a partner. In wrongful death cases, surviving spouses can sometimes receive damages for loss of consortium. This may be suffered by a patient’s close family member as the reduced quality of life as a result of the injuries to the patient.
Punitive Damages: These damages are distinct from compensation provided for medical expenses, lost wages, or the costs of future medical care. It refers to the money paid by a healthcare provider to a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case, and is supposed to punish that provider for its harmful conduct.
Discovery: This refers to the phase of a lawsuit in which both parties seek to find out as much as possible about how the supposed medical malpractice occurred. During discovery, medical malpractice lawyers from both sides can request certain documents and information related to the case.
Make sure to get educated so that you can follow your case as it unfolds. This is just a small sample of legal terms; there are several hundred more terms that are important to comprehend if you want to have a full grasp on all the complexities of a medical malpractice suit as it happens. Of course, that’s what medical malpractice lawyers are for.