Exploring Compensation for Emotional Distress if Caused by Medical Malpractice
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your medical malpractice claim, you could be able to seek compensation for emotional distress. The experienced legal team at The Henry Law Firm can help you determine if you could file a medical malpractice claim to try and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Did you know that approximately 20,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed every year in the United States alone? Each year thousands of medical malpractice lawsuits are settled outside of court. According to data, the three most common medical malpractice cases are:
- Birth injuries
- Diagnostic failure
- Treatment failure
Since emotional distress is not easily quantifiable, it is difficult to prove, and there are specific rules surrounding these types of claims. We are familiar with the Ohio laws surrounding suing for emotional distress due to a medical error and can explain each to you in detail.
What Constitutes Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress usually isn’t considered “economic damage” but instead a part of a person’s ‘pain and suffering’ that falls into the category of non-economic damages. Essentially, if you are suffering from emotional distress, you’re experiencing psychological or mental pain that directly results from experiencing a traumatic event.
There are a few common examples of emotional distress that have been seen in Ohio medical error lawsuits:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Weight loss
- Lack of energy
- Appetite changes
- Increased substance abuse
Proving Emotional Distress in a Medical Error Case
Those who can prove that they are suffering from severe emotional distress have a higher likelihood of obtaining compensation. If emotional distress is proven, some of the damages one could expect include recovery from pain and suffering, lost income, and medical bills.
Yet, how is emotional distress proven in a medical error case in Ohio? It can be incredibly challenging proving that you sustained a severe emotional injury due to a doctor making a medical error. You will need to prove that:
- You had a doctor-patient relationship with your doctor, thus establishing a duty of care owed to you.
- Your doctor breached this duty of care through negligence.
- The negligence of your doctor caused you severe emotional distress.
- The emotional distress you are suffering from caused you to sustain actual damages.
A psychiatrist or therapist will have to provide expert testimony in almost every medical malpractice claim where a person is seeking damages for emotional distress. Additionally, other evidence that you can present that will help your emotional distress claim include prescription costs, records stating missed time from work, records from therapy, and medical bills. Moreover, in some instances, your lawyer can use testimonies from family and friends to prove emotional distress.
Suing a Doctor for Emotional Distress
There are usually two different situations whereby you can sue a doctor who caused you emotional distress because of a medical error. At The Henry Law Firm, we can help you determine which one of these two situations applies to your medical malpractice lawsuit. We have briefly detailed the situations below:
- Your doctor acted negligently, and this caused you to sustain a physical injury that resulted in emotional distress. A perfect example is when a doctor accidentally amputates a perfectly healthy limb instead of the injured limb that requires amputation. This unnecessary permanent physical injury leads to you having a permanent disability that leads to you becoming depressed and withdrawn.
- Your doctor caused you emotional distress without inflicting a physical injury upon you. An example of this type of medical error negligence is when a doctor misdiagnosed a patient, causing unnecessary emotional distress. For instance, a doctor tells you that you only have a few months left to live because of a terminal illness, but your condition is actually treatable. Another example is if a doctor performs a medical procedure on you that you did not give informed consent.
However, you should note that suing for emotional distress without a physical injury is more challenging. That is because the cost of proving liability to include expert expenses may exceed the amount your claim is worth. With the help of our Ohio firm, we can guide you toward the best course of action.
Timeline for Filing a Medical Error Lawsuit
In most instances, a medical malpractice lawsuit for emotional distress caused by a medical error needs to be filed within one year. However, depending on your case, the medical institution or professional may grant an extension to the one-year limit.
If you notify the medical institution or professional that you are considering filing a lawsuit within the one-year limitations period, your time limit to file is extended by 180 days. However, this is a tricky process, and it is easy for an untrained person to not “properly notify” his doctor.
If you are interested in seeking an extension on an upcoming statute of limitations, you must contact an experienced attorney immediately.
Contact An Ohio Lawyer To Discuss Your Medical Malpractice Case
No one deserves to experience emotional distress due to a medical error that, in most instances, could have been prevented. Should you or someone you care deeply be suffering from emotional distress, you might be able to seek monetary compensation with the diligent assistance of an Ohio lawyer.
At The Henry Law Firm, we understand medical malpractice laws and can help you determine if you can proceed with filing a medical malpractice claim for compensation for emotional distress. We care about helping you achieve a favorable case outcome which is why we will work alongside you each step of the way. To consult with one of our compassionate, highly skilled, and knowledgeable team members, you can contact us today.