Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Doctor for Pain and Suffering- AA Law

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Can You Sue A Doctor for Pain and Suffering?

March 1, 2024 Alan Ahdoot
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Doctors are responsible for diagnosing and treating the sick and the wounded. These professionals spend years honing their skills to provide high-quality healthcare services to their patients. Unfortunately, even the most skilled doctors may sometimes fall short. And the result can be a pain and suffering lawsuit.

Medical malpractice is when a patient is injured due to a healthcare provider’s negligent act or error. These accidents can cause severe pain and suffering to the patient and their families.

If you’re wondering whether you can sue a doctor for pain and suffering in California, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss whether you can include emotional distress in your medical malpractice claim. We’ll also explore the three elements you need to prove pain and suffering

Read on to learn how to get justice for the damages you’ve suffered.

Pain & Suffering in Medical Malpractice

Pain and suffering is the legal term used to identify the physical and emotional trauma a victim sustains after an accident. It’s a type of non-economic damage that plaintiffs can claim in personal injury lawsuits, like a medical malpractice claim.

For example, if a doctor operates on the wrong site and it results in a disability that causes pain and impairs movement, the injured patient can sue them for their diminished quality of life. 

However, proving pain and suffering can be difficult due to its subjective nature. You should be able to demonstrate how your injuries have affected your life. 

Some of the documents that you can use to support your pain and suffering lawsuit include:

  • Medical records
  • Photographs and videos
  • Personal diary
  • Expert testimony

Can You Sue A Doctor For Pain & Suffering?

Generally speaking, you can sue a doctor for your pain and suffering. However, you have to prove that they were negligent. 

To prove negligence in a medical malpractice case, five elements should be present:

  • Doctor-Patient Relationship: You have to establish that there was a doctor-patient relationship between you and the defendant by agreement or treatment received. 
  • Duty of Care: Medical professionals are legally obligated to provide care to their patients that meets the standard accepted by the medical community. 
  • Breach of Duty: You have to prove that your doctor breached their duty of care by failing to give you the standard quality of care owed. 
  • Causation: Aside from proving a breach of duty, you also have to prove that your doctor’s negligence was the cause of your injuries. 
  • Damages: Lastly, you must showcase that your injuries caused significant damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

If you can prove these five elements, you’ll have a higher chance of securing a favorable outcome for your case. 

Patient on a hospital bed holding a cup of coffee, crying for her pain and suffering
Injured patients have the right to file a lawsuit against negligent doctors for their pain and suffering.

Why Should You File A Lawsuit Against Your Doctor?

Most medical malpractice claims are filed due to these three common medical errors:

  • Diagnostic Errors: Diagnosis errors happen when doctors fail to establish or communicate an accurate explanation of a patient’s health problem. Examples of this include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and failure to diagnose. 
  • Pharmaceutical Mistakes: Pharmaceutical mistakes can occur at any point of treatment, from when the medication was prescribed to when it was administered. 
  • Communication Errors: Communication errors are some of the most common causes of medical malpractice. These mistakes happen at various levels of the healthcare system. Sometimes, they happen between doctors and nurses. But they can also occur between doctors and patients. 

Other examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Premature discharge
  • Failure to order the right tests or act on results
  • Leaving surgical instruments inside the patient’s body following an operation. 
  • Operating on the wrong part of the body
  • Fatal infections contracted within the hospital. 

If you’ve experienced any of the following examples we’ve mentioned, you may be able to sue your healthcare provider.

Pain and Suffering Calculator

Since pain and suffering are hard to quantify, most juries base the award they’ll give to each case on the following factors:

  • Severity of injuries
  • Permanent disabilities or disfigurement
  • Impact of the injuries on quality of life

They may also use two different methods to calculate fair compensation: the per diem and multiplier methods. 

The per diem method is where the jury places a dollar value on the pain and suffering you’ve experienced and multiplies it by the number of days in which your injuries lasted. The value used in this method is typically based on the plaintiff’s daily wages.

On the other hand, the multiplier method uses a number, or a multiplier, between 1.5 and 5.0 to calculate your total damages. The multiplier the jury will use for their calculation depends on the severity of your injuries. 

California’s Damage Cap for Pain & Suffering

Unlike other states, California has a cap on the non-economic damages plaintiffs can claim in a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

According to the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), you can only claim up to $350,000 in non-economic damages for non-fatal medical malpractice cases and $500,000 in fatal cases. 

Do You Need A Lawyer for Your Injuries?

While it’s true that you can pursue legal action independently, the complexity of a pain and suffering lawsuit requires years of legal experience. 

There are nuances to medical malpractice that go beyond the average person’s understanding of California’s legal system. Having a seasoned pain and suffering lawyer by your side can make a big difference to the outcome of your case. 

Moreover, the emotional toll of a traumatic can be overwhelming. It will be difficult to go through several legal proceedings and negotiations without the compassionate support of a pain and suffering lawyer. 

With this in mind, it would be best for injured patients like you to find an attorney you can trust. 

Legal Representation For Pain & Suffering

If you need to sue a doctor or a hospital for pain and suffering, Adamson Ahdoot is here to assist you. 

With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our team of seasoned attorneys is equipped to handle medical malpractice claims in California. Adamson Ahdoot is committed to helping its clients secure fair compensation for their damages and advocate for those who need support most. 

Our pain and suffering lawyers will help you hold negligent healthcare providers accountable for your injuries. Contact us today at (800) 310-1606 for a free consultation with one of our premier attorneys. 

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Our team can better advise you on your legal options once we receive any available evidence about the incident.

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