Maui Medical Malpractice Settlements
When you go to a doctor’s office, hospital, or surgical center, you expect that you will receive good medical care. In most cases, this is exactly what happens: you get the proper diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, there are times when medical professionals fail to live up to the standards for their profession – and patients are injured as a result.
In a medical malpractice case, a person injured by medical negligence can seek compensation for their losses. Through this type of personal injury claim, you may recover money for your medical bills, future medical treatment, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and more. Many of these cases are resolved via settlement, with the total value of the claim based on factors such as the nature and severity of the injury.
If you have been hurt by a negligent doctor, nurse, or another medical professional, an experienced Maui medical malpractice lawyer can help you recover the compensation that you need to move forward with your life. Starting with a free consultation, your attorney will guide you through the process, fighting to help you achieve justice.
What to Expect in a Medical Malpractice Settlement
Medical malpractice is a specialized type of personal injury claim. Patients may suffer harm when a healthcare provider does something – or fails to do something – that a competent professional would have done in a similar situation. In other words, medical malpractice is a deviation from the standard of care for medical professionals.
Examples of medical malpractice include:
- Delayed diagnosis, failure to diagnose, or misdiagnosis;
- Delayed treatment;
- Surgical errors
- Birth injuries;
- Medication errors; and
- Anesthesia errors.
Patients who are injured by medical negligence may file a lawsuit against the doctor and the doctor’s insurance company for their losses. If a patient dies as a result of a medical error, their loved ones may file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for their injuries and damages.
Most claims begin with a free consultation at the law offices of a medical malpractice attorney. They will listen to your story and offer you legal advice on your rights and options for pursuing a case. If you decide to hire that law firm, they will begin to investigate the case and prepare for a lawsuit.
The state of Hawaii requires you to obtain certification by a medical expert for most medical malpractice claims. This expert must provide an opinion that the doctor who treated you was negligent. Once you have this certification, your lawyer will file a claim with the state Medical Inquiry and Conciliation Panel (MICP).
Next, you will go through a hearing with the MICP, where a three-person panel will listen to your evidence of medical negligence. The opinion offered by the panel is not binding on either party. During the MICP process, your attorney may engage in settlement with the physician, medical facility, and insurance company.
In a Hawaii medical malpractice claim, you may be entitled to three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages are meant to compensate you for your direct financial losses. They may include things such as medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and future medical expenses.
Non-economic damages compensate you for intangible losses. Examples of general damages may include physical pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress. Importantly, Hawaii law caps the amount of pain and suffering damages that can be awarded in a medical malpractice case. These Hawaii damages cap is set at $375,000.
Finally, punitive damages are meant to punish a wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar conduct; they are typically not available in personal injury cases. However, if you can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the medical provider acted intentionally, willfully, wantonly, or with gross negligence, then you may be awarded punitive damages. For example, if a doctor operated on you while intoxicated and you were hurt as a result, you may be able to seek punitive damages.
Your medical malpractice attorney will gather all evidence related to your claim to prove damages, including medical records and bills, estimates for home renovations to accommodate your disability, and even reports from experts about the way that your injury has affected and will affect your life. This information will then be used to try to negotiate a settlement.
If the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, the case may need to be litigated and set for a jury trial. Even after a lawsuit is filed and during the litigation process, negotiations can occur. When necessary, your lawyer will take your case to court in Maui County and ask a jury to find the case in your favor.
Average Value of a Medical Malpractice Settlement
The value of a claim in a medical negligence case is based on a number of factors, such as the nature and severity of your injury. For example, a person whose doctor amputated the wrong leg will likely receive a larger settlement than a person whose doctor failed to diagnose a condition on time, but who suffered few lasting effects from this error.
Examples of medical malpractice include:
- $10,000,000 for a birth injury that left the child with permanent disabilities;
- $2,500,000 for the administration of the wrong medication that caused the death;
- $2,700,000 for failure to diagnose, which lead to a brain injury and permanent disability;
- $2,500,000 for delayed diagnosis of a heart attack; and
- $1,600,000 for a missed cancer diagnosis.
A medical malpractice claim can take months, or even years, to settle or go to trial. As a general rule, the more complicated the issues are in a case, the longer it may take to achieve a settlement. For example, if you suffered a complex medical injury and were treated by a number of different providers, it may take longer to settle your claim compared to a case involving a simple injury and just one doctor.
How Long Do You Have to File a Maui Medical Malpractice Claim?
The Hawaii statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 2 years. This means that, with a few exceptions, you must file a medical negligence claim within 2 years, or it will be barred.
Because the statute of limitations is relatively short, it is important to consult with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Doing so can help to ensure that you get your claim filed in a timely manner – and that your claim is as strong as possible.
How Often Do Medical Malpractice Claims Settle?
Many medical malpractice claims end in a settlement, either before a lawsuit is filed, prior to trial, or even during litigation. According to a Business Insurance report, approximately 55% of medical malpractice claims result in litigation. Most often, claims against certain specialists – such as obstetricians and gynecologists – go to trial.
In Hawaii, the MICP process may result in more cases being resolved before a lawsuit is filed. A Maui medical malpractice lawyer can advise you on whether you have a viable claim, and the likelihood of the case being settled.
When Can You Get Pain and Suffering Damages in a Hawaii Medical Malpractice Case?
Under Hawaii law, in order to seek pain and suffering damages, you must have a physical injury. That is because pain and suffering are defined as the actual physical pain and suffering that was caused by a physical injury. Emotional distress is compensated as a separate form of non-economic damages.
As noted above, Hawaii caps pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases at $375,000. A skilled Maui County medical malpractice attorney can help you achieve the highest possible recovery for your claim, including pain and suffering damages.
Help for Victims of Medical Negligence
If you have been injured by a doctor or other medical provider, you may be entitled to compensation for the losses that you suffered as a result. We know that the thought of filing a legal claim may seem overwhelming when you are already dealing with emotional trauma, physical pain, and mounting bills. Our law firm is here to help.
Menzer Law represents people throughout Maui County who have been injured in all types of accidents – including medical errors. We offer free consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Maui medical malpractice lawyer, call us at 808-400-3726, or fill out our online contact form.